1. Chapter 1 by ameraleigh
2. Chapter 2 by ameraleigh
3. Chapter 3 by ameraleigh
4. Chapter 4 by ameraleigh
5. Chapter 5 by ameraleigh
6. Chapter 6 by ameraleigh
7. Chapter 7 by ameraleigh
8. Chapter 8 by ameraleigh
9. Chapter 9 by ameraleigh
10. Chapter 10 by ameraleigh
11. Chapter 11 by ameraleigh
12. Chapter 12 by ameraleigh
13. Chapter 13 by ameraleigh
14. Chapter 14 by ameraleigh
15. Chapter 15 by ameraleigh
16. Chapter 16 by ameraleigh
17. Chapter 17 by ameraleigh
18. Chapter 18 by ameraleigh
19. Chapter 19 by ameraleigh
20. Chapter 20 by ameraleigh
21. Chapter 21 by ameraleigh
22. Chapter 22 by ameraleigh
23. Chapter 23 by ameraleigh
24. Chapter 24 by ameraleigh
25. Chapter 25 by ameraleigh
26. Chapter 26 by ameraleigh
27. Chapter 27 by ameraleigh
28. Chapter 28 by ameraleigh
29. Chapter 29 by ameraleigh
30. Chapter 30 by ameraleigh
31. Chapter 31 by ameraleigh
32. Chapter 32 by ameraleigh
33. Chapter 33 by ameraleigh
34. Chapter 34 by ameraleigh
35. Chapter 35 by ameraleigh
36. Chapter 36 by ameraleigh
37. Chapter 37 by ameraleigh
38. Chapter 38 by ameraleigh
39. Chapter 39 by ameraleigh
The 3rd installment in the A Moment Like This world.
I own nothing, no copyright infringement intended.
Stuart stood next to the crib, staring down at Lorelei, she was asleep and hoped that she would stay that way for at least awhile longer, because the last time she woke up, she screamed bloody murder and he had panicked. He was in the room with Lisa, and she was asleep as well, Lincoln and Michael had gone to find coffee and he wasn’t sure what to do, so he had picked her up, trying to stop her from crying, little good that it did though. He was just glad it didn’t wake Lisa up and he was more than relieved when the nurse came in and brought a bottle with her, after quickly showing him what to do, he sat down in the chair near the window and fed her, thankful that the crying had stopped.
He had been around Liam for the past five months, but still when it came to actually taking care of your own kid, he was pretty much clueless, he hadn’t grown up around babies, he was an only child, and the thought that he was responsible for her, scared the hell out of him.
It must have been 20 minutes later before Lincoln and Michael came back, bringing a coffee for him and he put the baby back into the crib, taking the cup from Lincoln.
“What happened?” Lincoln questioned him, “You look….”
“Freaked out.” Stuart finished for him. “Yeah, pretty much, she wouldn’t stop crying.”
Lincoln stood there grinning at him and then shrugged his shoulders.
“Its not funny.” He shot back.
“Yeah it is, and at least she didn’t spit up on you.”
“That was funny.” Michael said.
“Thanks.” Lincoln glared at him. He turned to look at Lisa who was still asleep. “She didn’t wake up at all?”
Stuart shook his head. “No, not even when Lorelei was screaming her head of. Why do you ask?”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders again. “I don’t know, I guess I’m just worried that she won’t.”
“She’ll get to see Lorelei.” Michael assured him. “You know that she will.”
“Yeah well she’s been out for almost two days now, so what if she doesn’t.”
No one else said anything, they just stood there, knowing that there was a really strong chance that Lisa wouldn’t wake up, that the one thing she wanted, was to see her daughter, and now it might not happen.
“Are you sure that we got everything?” Stuart asked.
“Yeah, its all here.” Lincoln replied. He put the bag into the car and closed the door. He looked up and nodded at Michael who was parked next to them, and then he watched as Michael pulled out of the parking lot, and then he climbed into the driver’s side.
“You know that we didn’t have to bring her home today, we could have waited.” Stuart told him.
“Yeah, and how long are we supposed to wait?” He answered. “I couldn’t stay there anymore, just standing around, waiting for her to wake up, I fucking well hate hospital’s as it is, couldn’t stand another minute.”
Stuart nodded at him. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“So we take her home, and we’ll bring her back if we have to, if we have to.”
He started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, wishing that he didn’t have to go back, and then he felt guilty that he hoped he wouldn’t have to.
“They didn’t say anything else, just that we should get down there as soon as possible?” Stuart questioned him.
“That was it.”
“Do you think it means she woke up?” Gretchen asked from the backseat
Lincoln glanced in the rear view mirror and shrugged his shoulders. “Wouldn’t have a clue.”
“It can’t be today.” Stuart said after awhile.
“What can’t be?”
“Lisa, if we get there and its bad news, I just really hope that its not.” he explained.
“Right.” Gretchen said.
“Because Sara and Michael are there now. They can’t both be the same day, its not fair.”
“Kinda fits though right, a birth and a death on the same day.” Gretchen replied.
“No it doesn’t fit.” Stuart shot back. “Because none of us should have to remember that their baby was born the day Lisa died.”
Michael moved a little closer to the bed and took Sara’s hand in his. She was having another contraction, and from his count, they were just a few minutes apart.
He looked up when he heard the door open and saw the Doctor walk in. “I need to check up and see how things are progressing.”
“Caitlin, please tell me its….” Sara said, but paused mid-sentence. A moment later, she continued. “Not going to be long, not sure how much of this I can take.”
Caitlin offered a smile, as little as it actually helped. “Well, your contractions have picked up, you said they were 12 minutes apart when you came in.”
“They’re about 2 ½ minutes now.” Michael told her.
Caitlin nodded. “Ok then, it sounds like things are going well. There might even be a baby tonight.”
“God I hope so.” Sara said, leaning back against the pillows. “What time is it now?”
“Just after 9pm.” Caitlin answered.
Lincoln pulled the car into the parking lot and turned of the engine. He climbed out, waiting for Stuart who was carrying the car seat, Gretchen got out after him and then he locked the doors.
They made their way inside, Lincoln spoke quickly to the nurse who directed them to Lisa’s room, even though they knew where it was.
Lincoln opened the door, expecting the worse, the nurse that he had talked to, hadn’t said anything about what was going on, so when that door opened, he panicked, thinking the worst, he couldn’t help it.
Inside the room, was Lisa’s Doctor, Julia. Lincoln had spent several hours over the past few months talking to her about Lisa’s condition.
She looked up as they walked into the room and she smiled, confusing Lincoln.
“I’m so sorry that I couldn’t give you more detail over the phone.”
“Its ok, what’s going on?” Lincoln wanted to know. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Gretchen walk in, followed by Stuart who pulled the door closed behind him.
“She’s awake, she woke up about 30 minutes ago. She’s still dazed from the pain medication, but she’s awake.”
Lincoln walked closer to the bed and saw that Lisa was in fact awake, she looked pale and incredibly ill, the worst he had seen her yet, but she was awake.
“Hey.” He said, taking her hand in his.
He could barely hear her, but he nodded anyway. “Yeah, I’m here, so is Lorelei.”
“Lorelei? That’s what you called her?”
“Yeah, you like it right?”
She tried to nod, but found it painful to move even an inch. “Its nice.”
“Well when you’re able to, you can see her, maybe even hold her.”
“I’d like that.” She replied.
“Ok, I know that I called you in here, but she’s still in a lot of pain, so..” Julia started to say.
“In other words keep the visit to a minimum.” Stuart finished for her.
“Something like that. And besides, isn’t Sara upstairs, I heard that she came in a little while ago, so I imagine that you lot will be here for hours.”
“Most likely.” Lincoln replied.
They had been in there with her for about 15 minutes before Julia came back in and suggested that it would be a good idea for them to leave for awhile so she could rest.
He squeezed Lisa’s hand. “We’ll be back to see you later, maybe you’ll be alright to hold her then.”
Lisa didn’t say anything, she just looked up at him and after a few minutes, they left the room again.
“Well that visit was to a minimum.” Gretchen said. “Yeah I get it, no need for you to say anything.”
“So upstairs is it?” Lincoln replied and the other two nodded.
They made their way up to the maternity ward, and found a waiting room, then they debated for several minutes over who was going to find out where Sara and Michael were.
“Wait, has anyone called anyone else.” Gretchen said. “You know like your dad, or Jessica.”
“Why?” Lincoln replied. “So they can sit here for hours annoying me.”
“So you’re still not over it.”
“I’m over it, we’ll call them when there’s an actual baby to be seen.”
“Ok.” Gretchen replied. “Has he seen Lorelei yet?”
Lincoln didn’t answer, he decided that he would go and find Michael.
He returned 15 minutes later, and Gretchen couldn’t tell if he was horrified or, well she had no idea.
“Yep, I found them.”
“Ok I have to ask, what the hell is with…” She waved her hand at him. “That look.”
“I got details that I didn’t really want to get.” he explained. “But apparently there’s going to be a baby, any minute now.”
Stuart started laughing. “That will teach you for making fun of me.”
“I promise it won’t happen again, today.”
“Thanks for that.”
Michael stood at the side of the bed and watched as Sara fought the pain, he listened to the doctor, could hear what she was saying and he knew it was close, that it would be just a few more minute until he would meet his son or daughter.
It was that moment that he remembered back to when they first met, in a hospital, and now here they were, waiting for their child to be born. It had been a long crazy few years, and right now he couldn’t argue that he would go through it all again to get to this point. Because right now, he couldn’t argue that it wasn’t worth it.
The flurry of noise in the room brought him back from his thoughts and he looked over just in time to see the Doctor holding his baby. She looked up at him and smiled. “it’s a boy, you have a son.”
And there it was, confirmation that all of it, really was worth it, it just was.
“So, does he have a name, cos you could always call him Stuart.” He grinned at them.
“Yes, that will be happening.” Sara sarcastically replied. “There are still a couple of names that we like, but we can’t decide which one.”
“What are the two names?” Gretchen asked.
“Caleb and Tristan, and we can’t choose which one.” Michael told her.
“Well I’ll help you out. I went to school with a guy called Tristan, he was an asshole.” Gretchen explained.
“Uh ok then.” Michael laughed. He looked over at Sara and smiled.
“Caleb then?” She said, and he nodded.
She glanced down at her 4 hour old son, and stroked his cheek with her finger. Is your name Caleb?”
“Please say yes, because this name thing, is giving me a headache.” Lincoln announced.
“I think it fits.” Michael said.
“So that’s it, just Caleb?” Gretchen wanted to know.
“No, he has a middle name as well, that we had already decided on a long time ago.” Michael answered. “Tyler.”
“Aww you’re gonna make me cry.”
“Oh god.” Lincoln said. “Not again.”
Stuart narrowed his eyes at him and reached out, slapping him on the arm. “I didn’t cry, and I didn‘t mean I was actually going to.”
“Sure you didn’t.”
“What are you talking about?” Michael asked.
“Better not to know.” Lincoln told him. “Trust me.”
“Ok. And in case you were wondering, its for both.” Michael responded.
Lincoln nodded, knowing exactly what he meant, that the name was for both their brother, and for Stuart. “Its nice.” He turned to look at him. “Well it wasn’t Stuart, but it is part of your name, happy now?”
“Ecstatic. No really I am.”
Lincoln shook his head at his boyfriend and punched him on the arm.
“Oh my god.” Michael said, turning to look at Sara, “I didn’t even think about it until now, you know what date it is right.”
She looked up at him. “What are you talking about.”
“The date?” Lincoln said. “What the hell does that mean?”
“7th of March.” He replied.
Sara closed her eyes, a tear rolling down her cheek.
“You’re crying over the date?” Gretchen wanted to know. She waved her hands in front of her. “I’d ask, but you lot are just plain weird, I’m scared to know.”
“My mother’s birthday, just.” Sara explained. “He was born about 12:04am. I was due 2 days ago, but he chose today.” She shifted on the bed, trying to get comfortable. “I almost forgot to ask, how is Lisa, Michael said that she woke up.”
Lincoln nodded back at her. “Yeah, she’s awake, barely.”
“Did she get to see Lorelei?”
“No not yet, she can’t even sit up, guess we’re just going to have to wait.”
“I don’t think that I can hate her anymore.”
Stuart looked up to where Lincoln sat on the end of the bed. “What are you talking about?”
“Lisa, I can’t hate her anymore. I mean that I do, with everything, but its getting less easy to do that, if that makes sense.”
“Not really but sure, I’ll go with that.” Stuart replied.
“Its been almost 2 weeks, and she hasn’t woken up yet, she hasn’t seen Lorelei yet, and I’m starting to think that she never will.”
Stuart shifted on the bed and placed his hand on Lincoln’s arm. “Yeah she will, cos Lisa is about the most stubborn person I’ve ever met.”
“Right. I know that you all think I’m crazy, she was not a mother to LJ, ever, but it doesn’t mean its fair that she not even get to see her daughter. Cos Lorelei never asked for this, she didn‘t.” he leant forward and brought his hands to his face, and Stuart was convinced that he heard Lincoln sob.
He tightened his grip on Linc’s arm, and Lincoln shook his head. “What do I tell her Stuart, what the hell am I going to say when she’s older and wants to know where her mother is.” He looked up at him, tears staining his cheeks. “To know why she doesn’t have one.” He leant forward, resting his head on Stuart’s lap. “What do I tell her.”
When the night has come, And the land is dark, And the moon is the only light we'll see No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Sara moved around the bed and stopped when she reached the crib, she glanced down and smiled at her son. He was asleep, and she wasn’t even sure that he knew that she was there. She had thought about it, if he knew when she was around, if he knew when she was watching. She had shared her body with him, his soul, so did he? Know that she was there, she liked to think so.
People often said that things changed when you became a parent, that your perspective changed, priorities, feelings. She had wished and hoped that it was true, that there was something that altered and know she felt it, because she was a mother, she was responsible for another life.
And it was not in a way that she had felt before, being a doctor, taking care of people, that was a completely different feeling, being a mom, was something else entirely.
Now, she understood more clearly what Lincoln had experienced back at Chance Woods, the numerous times that he had believed that his son had been taken from him. She understood it so clearly and the fear that something might, some day happen to her own son, terrified her beyond belief. She wasn’t sure that she would be able to handle it, no scratch that, she knew she wouldn’t be able to.
So she watched him, and she thought of how she couldn’t wait until he responded to her, not just in the way he did now, his cries got her attention, but when he would be able to communicate with her, to say the actual words of what he needed.
She couldn’t help but laugh, here she was so enamored with her baby son, that she was already wishing that he were older. But when those days arrived, she would wish that she had the time back again, that he was just a child again.
Footsteps on the wooden floor behind her caught her attention and brought her out of her day dream.
She glanced over her shoulder and saw Michael standing in the doorway. “He’s asleep, isn’t he?”
She nodded back at him. “Yes, for about 20 minutes, why do you ask?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “No reason, was just curious.”
“Michael, has there been any news on Lisa?” She asked. “I mean Lincoln went to the hospital this morning, and he hasn’t called yet.”
“Well if anything happens, he will.” he told her.
“What about LJ, shouldn’t he be here?”
“Linc actually said he talked to him last night, he had a couple of classes this morning, but he would be here later.” He reached out and took the baby monitor from her, “We should get downstairs, I think Gretchen arrived just before I came up here.”
It was almost 3pm when Lincoln called the house to tell Michael and Sara to come down to the hospital.
Sara took the bag out to the car, and loaded the baby seat in. “Michael, did he say anything else at all?”
Michael shook his head. “No, he just said that we should get down there.”
Lincoln waited just outside of the room, and when he saw Michael and Sara walking down the corridor, he was just relieved that they were there.
They didn’t say anything, Michael just embraced his brother and for the longest time they stood there like that.
“LJ is in there with her now?” Sara asked after a few minutes.
“Yeah, he got her about an hour ago, but she was asleep.”
“Linc, what are they saying?” She wanted to know. “is Julia around?”
“She was in here before, not sure where she is now, but yeah she said that its not looking good.” He told her.
“OK well I think I might track Julia down, see what’s going on.” She replied. “I’ll be back soon.” She leant over and kissed Michael on the cheek and then disappeared down the hallway.
“How did it go with the lawyer?” Michael asked his brother.
“All the papers are signed, its done.”
Michael nodded slightly. “That’s good.”
“Yeah I guess so.”
Michael drew in a deep breath and leant back against the wall. “You’re going to be alright Linc, you did this before, you can do it again.”
“Yeah, I’m sure that I can.” he folded his arms across his chest. “Thing is, that at least before, Lisa was there, not around, but she was there. This time, she’s not going to be.”
He reached out, placing his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “You’ll be alright Linc.”
LJ shifted in his seat, he had been sitting there for the better part of 30 minutes and he still had no idea what to say, what was there to say. He could get angry and list all the reasons why he hated her so much. He could vent, bring up all of the things that she did, or didn’t do. How she missed almost all of his birthday’s.
But as much as he wanted to do that, he couldn’t, and as much as he didn’t want to admit it, he was sad.
He glanced up and saw that she was looking at him.
He leant forward slightly in the chair and reached out, placing his hand over hers. “Mom.”
“LJ, can you help me sit up, please.”
He stood and leant over the bed, pushing the pillows back and helped her sit up a little. “Is that ok?”
She smiled up at him and motioned for him to sit back down. “There’s something, a few things that I need to tell you.”
“Mom, you don’t have to do this.” he replied. He was suddenly nervous, he didn’t want her to do this, he didn’t want to hear how sorry she was, and that she wished things could be different.
“Yes I do. I need to do this LJ, please, just let me.”
Despite what he really wanted to say, to do, he nodded. “Ok.”
“I know that you think I didn’t want you, I did the exact opposite of showing that I wanted you, but that’s not even point.”
“So what is the point?” He asked.
“That you’re my son, even though I was never a mother to you, you’re still my son, and everything I did, it didn’t mean that I don’t love you.” She had tears staining her cheeks now.
“Please just let me get this out, because there won’t be a later to do this.” She paused for a moment, shifting in the bed.
LJ couldn’t help but notice how uncomfortable she looked, and he last comment, echoed through his mind ‘There won’t be a later’.
“I’m sorry, for everything that I did to you, for all the things I never and I’m so sorry.” She said, her crying turning to sobbing. “I’m sorry.”
As much as he never thought that he would do this, something told him that this time, it was different, he could forgive her, tell her that he did and he could mean it.
Sara sat down at the table with Julia. “I just want to know what’s going on, how long do you think she has?”
“I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to give you a time line.” Julia answered. “Its too, morbid.”
Sara glanced down at her hands which were resting on the table top. “I know that it is, but Julia, please. I mean we come in one day and she seems really bad, but the next time we come in, she’s looking a lot better, I think that just makes it worse, everyone keeps telling us to expect the worst, that getting hopes up….”
Julia drew in a deep breath and nodded. “If she even makes it to tonight, I’m not sure that she, its not looking good Sara, she’s not responding to any medications and earlier this morning, before Lincoln arrived, I didn’t tell him, but she stopped breathing, we spent several minutes resuscitating her.”
Sara raised her hand to her mouth. “Oh god, I uh, I had no idea.”
“She said that she didn’t want to fall asleep again, because she knew that she wouldn’t wake up.”
“Lincoln said that she’s been asleep a lot today?”
Julia nodded. “She has, she keeps drifting in and out, there isn’t anything we can do for her.”
“So you’re saying that today, the goodbyes need to be said.” Sara answered.
Julia nodded again. “Yes, I’m sorry.”
Sara inhaled a few deep breaths, trying to process it all. “So I should get back to Lincoln, because Lisa still hasn’t really seen Lorelei yet.”
“OK, I’ll be in there soon.”
Julia sat at the table and watched as Sara left the room.
Lincoln looked up when he saw Sara walking back down the corridor. “So did you find Julia?”
Sara nodded. “Yes, uh Linc, where’s Stuart? Because you should probably bring Lorelei in.”
“They went down to the cafeteria awhile ago.”
“I’ll find them.” Michael offered. “I won’t be long.”
“Lincoln, Julia told me that it will most likely be today.”
“I figured as much.” He replied. “Yeah, I know.”
15 minutes later, Michael returned with Stuart and Lorelei, and then the three of them went into the room, closing the door again.
Michael and Sara walked across the corridor and into the waiting room.
“I barely know her, but everything she’s done, even still, I’m sad.” Sara said. “This shouldn’t be happening.”
He reached over and took her hand in his. “Its not, not at all.” He paused for a moment. “We’re going to have to help them.”
“Of course, and we will, they’ll be ok, we’ll make sure of it.”
Lincoln took Lorelei out of the baby seat and cradled her to his chest, he moved around the bed and leant down slightly, he was glad that when he went into the room, that Lisa was sitting up, despite how much pain she was in she took Lorelei and held her.
“She’s beautiful Linc.”
“Yeah she is.” He stood there and watched as Lisa studied the little girl, Lorelei was waving her arms around, not having been around Lisa, he was still sure that she could tell that that was her mother.
A few minutes later, Lisa looked up at him. “I know you’ll do great with her Lincoln. She’ll be ok, I know that she will.”
“I promise that I’ll make sure she is.”
Lisa smiled at him. “I know.” She held her daughter for a few more minutes until she looked back up at Lincoln. “Take her, you have to take her.”
Lincoln moved quickly towards the bed and picked Lorelei up. “What’s wrong, are you alright?”
It was like everything was moving in slow motion. He watched as Stuart left the room, he could hear voices out in the corridor, but it wasn’t helping, it was too late, he watched as Lisa lay there, struggling to breath and there wasn’t a damn thing that he could do, nothing he could do but stand there, to watch and to wait for everything to change again.
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
Lincoln sat in the chair opposite Julia. He glanced over at Stuart who was sitting to his right, Lorelei in his arms while LJ sat on the other side of him, his head in his hands, he hadn’t said a word in the past hour and he really couldn’t blame him.
“Lincoln, you don’t have to make any decisions tonight.” Julia informed him. “Lisa’s body won’t be released until an autopsy has been performed.”
He closed his eyes, not really wanting to think about that. A moment later he looked up at her. “Wait, why do they need to do that? We know how she died.”
“Its procedure.” She replied. “Did she have instructions on what she wanted in the event of her death?”
He nodded back at her. “Yeah, yeah that’s all taken care of.”
Julia nodded slightly to herself and filled in some notes, looking back at Lincoln a moment later. “I don’t think that there is anything else that can be done tonight. So why don’t you take them home, its been a rough few days for all of you, you should try to get some sleep, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Thanks.” He leant over and tapped his son on the shoulder. “LJ, we’re heading out of here.”
He stood up, not saying anything and followed his father out into the corridor.
“Is Sara and Michael still here?” Stuart wondered.
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. Sara said something about now wanting to be away from Caleb for too long.”
“We’ll call them when we get out to the car.” Stuart said.
They made their way out of the hospital and down to the parking lot.
Stuart put Lorelei her seat and climbed in, pulling the door closed.
Lincoln got into the driver’s seat, LJ next to him and for a moment, the two shared a look.
“Dad, did anyone call her parents?”
Lincoln glanced down at the steering wheel and shook his head. “No, I’m not sure. I didn’t even think about it.”
“I want to.” he replied.
Lincoln back up at his son. “You don’t have to do that. LJ, no its not up to you.”
“Then who is it up to?” he asked. “Someone has to do it. And I want to.”
“LJ, they don’t…” He started to say.
“They care that I’m their grandson.” he answered. “I know, but I still want to.”
Lincoln drew in a deep breath and nodded. “Ok, but we don’t have to do it right now.”
“They’re at home.” Stuart said. “Michael and Sara.”
Lincoln glanced in the rear view mirror and nodded. “OK.” He started the engine and pulled the car out of the parking lot.
“That was Stuart.” Sara said. “They’re on their way home.”
She put the phone down and moved around the sofa, sitting next to Michael, she leant over, resting her head on his shoulder, and he slipped his arm around her, pulling her closer.
“I hate this.” She said to him.
“I should be so happy right now, and I do feel that, but at the same time, I feel guilty for it.” She explained.
“No one is going to blame you for being happy Sara.” he pointed out. “And you know that Linc won’t either, he wouldn’t.”
“I know that, but still, I can’t help it. The best and the worst things to happen, all at once, its not fair.”
Michael didn’t say anything, he just pulled her closer and turned to focus on the baby monitor that sat on the coffee table. He knew exactly what she was talking about, they were both so excited about being parents, it was the best thing to ever happen to them, and he too felt guilty that his brother should have been feeling that as well, about being a father again, but the circumstances over how he become a dad, no one could be happy about that.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
“Ok so what the hell is the surprise?” Lincoln asked. “Come on LJ, just tell me.”
“Dad, I’m not going to tell you that. You’re just going to have to wait.”
“Who is it a surprise for?” He wanted to know. “Because they wouldn’t tell Sara either.”
“Well its for you, but yeah they didn’t tell Sara, cos well they were worried she might accidentally tell you.”
He narrowed his eyes at his son. “Right. Cos she’s the spilling secrets type.”
LJ looked up at him. “I’m not telling you, you have to wait.”
“For how long?” He wanted to know.
“When do you get back from Dallas?” LJ wondered.
“We’ll be there for two weeks.” He said.
“Ok, so you’ll find out in two weeks.”
Lincoln folded his arms across his chest and stared at his son.
“That won’t work, I’m not telling you.” He replied.
“Fine, maybe I’ll just go out there and see for myself.”
LJ shook his head at him. “Don’t do that, gees what’s wrong with you that you can’t wait two weeks.”
“Because I’m an impatient person, you know that.”
“Yeah but still, it’s a surprise Dad, one that Stuart wants to actually be a surprise.”
“What the hell is it for, can you least tell me that? Its not a holiday or anything, ain’t my birthday.”
“It just is what it is.” LJ told him.
“What is what it is?”
Lincoln glanced over his shoulder to see Stuart standing there, he studied him for a moment and then walked over to him.
“What are you doing?” Stuart asked him.
Lincoln reached out and ran his finger along a spot on Stuart’s neck. “Is that dirt?”
Stuart lifted his hand and used the collar of his shirt to wipe his neck. “No, what the hell? Why would I have dirt on me.”
“What the hell are you doing out there?” Lincoln replied.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Lincoln shook his head. “Fine, be like that then. I’m going to go and finish packing up Lorelei’s stuff.”
“Yeah, I’ve got a few things to grab as well. Don’t forget we leave at 8am.”
“Yeah, I remember.”
“Ok, so I want to know what’s going on.” Sara told him. “What are you and Stuart up to?”
Michael looked up from his book. “What are you talking about.”
She rolled her eyes at him and sat down on the bed, picking up the towel, she dried her hair. “You know what I’m talking about, what are you two doing in that garage.”
“it’s a surprise.”
“And how many times have I heard that already, a surprise for who and why.”
“Sara come on, don’t make me tell you.” He replied. When she just sat there staring at him, he continued. “Fine, but you can’t tell Lincoln.”
“So its for Linc, why?”
“Three weeks after Lorelei was born, Linc and Stuart had been together for a year. Neither of them are big on celebrating that sort of thing, but I thought it was a big deal. But given what was going on with Lisa and everything else, they just let it pass and didn’t do anything. But a few weeks ago, Stuart told me that there was something he wanted to get for Linc.”
“And that’s what’s in the crates.”
“So what is it?”
Michael drew in a deep breath and sat up a little straighter. “When Lincoln was about 25, there was this thing that he wanted, but couldn’t afford and thought he‘d never get.”
“A thing.” She replied laughing. “I’m going to need a little more detail than that.”
“As I said, when he was 25, he saw this custom motorbike.”
“A motorbike.” She asked. “Wow, is that a good idea, those things are dangerous.”
She held her hands up. “Fine, continue.”
“So he saw this bike and fell in love with it, but he knew that there was no way he could afford it.”
“Oh my god, you’re telling me that Stuart brought it for him? So Lincoln obviously told him about it.”
“Yes, and that’s exactly what he did.”
“So why is it in bits?” She wanted to know.
“Well apparently it turns out that Stuart is good with this sort of thing and he wanted to put some of it together himself.”
“He will have a professional guy look at it though, won’t he.”
Michael couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah he will. He’s got this guy, Chris to come in and finish it while they’re in Dallas.”
“How much was it, if Lincoln thought he couldn’t afford it.”
“I don’t think you really want to know.”
“Yes I do, how much was it?” She wanted to know.
Sara’s eyes went wide. “Are you serious?” Michael nodded. “Oh my god, Stuart just brought a $45,000 motorbike. Michael, you‘re not serious are you.”
“Yes I’m serious, and he’s going to give it to him when they get back from Dallas.”
“Michael do you really think that something like this, is a good idea, he could kill himself.” She pointed out.
“Sara, I understand believe me, but he won’t take any chances, mind you I’m not sure he’ll even want to ride it.” He explained.
“Then what’s the point of having it?” She laughed.
“It’s a custom bike… it’s a guy thing.”
Both of them sighed when they heard Caleb crying over the baby monitor. Michael put his book down and climbed of the bed. “I’ve got him.”
Sara watched as he left room and she picked up the monitor, listening to Michael talk to their son and she smiled, knowing that there really wasn’t anything better than hearing that.
Stuart finished packing the bags into the car and then he headed back into the house.
Their flight was due to leave at 9am, and it was already after 8, the plan to leave early hadn’t gone to well.
“Linc, what the hell are you doing?”
A few minutes later, Lincoln appeared at the bottom of the stairs, Sara was right behind him, and she was carrying Caleb.
“I can’t believe that you guys haven’t left yet, isn’t you flight in 30 minutes or something like that.”
“An hour.” Stuart replied. “And if we ever get there.”
“We’ll get there, would you calm down.” Lincoln replied. “Seriously I don’t think I’ve seen you spaz like this in ages.”
“I’m not spazzing, what the hell is that, is that even a word?”
“You are spazzing and yes, it is now.”
Sara moved past Lincoln on the stairs. “So you’re actually the one who is freaking out over the fact that you’re about to meet the in law.”
“I’m not freaking out, why would I do that.” He answered.
“Because you’re rambling, and you’re you.”
“Ok whatever, can we please leave now, because I don’t want to miss this flight, the next one is until tonight.”
“Have a good flight you guys, and call.” Sara told them.
15 minutes later, she was standing at the front door watching them pull out of the driveway.
She heard footsteps behind her and glanced over her shoulder and saw Michael moving up beside her.
“So, I’m sure that this is going to go well.” Michael said. “I have a feeling someone is going to come home in tears, and then Lorelei will start crying.”
“Did you just make a joke?” She laughed.
“I told you, that it happens occasionally, don’t act so surprised.” he told her.
“Well I guess that we’ll find out soon enough.” She answered.
Michael leant over, kissing Caleb on the cheek. “That we will.”
Stuart opened the front door and stepped into the foyer, he was carrying Lorelei’s car seat and glanced over his shoulder and saw Lincoln carrying a couple of bags, he placed them down on the floor and then headed back to the door.
“I’m gonna get the rest of the stuff.” Lincoln told him and Stuart nodded.
He adjusted the weight of the baby seat and kept walking through the main living area and headed towards the kitchen, he looked in before actually walking into the room and saw his Dad standing at the kitchen counter, drinking a cup of coffee. He shook his head slightly, knowing that his father was the only man who drank his coffee standing at the counter.
His father looked up and smiled. “Stuart, its good to see you again. How long has it been?”
“About 7 months.”
Stuart placed the car seat down onto the table and moved around the counter, hugging his Dad.
“Well next time, please don’t leave it so long.”
“I won’t.” Stuart replied. He walked back to the table, removing the blanket from the seat.
“Stuart.” He said walking towards him. “What is that?”
He unbuckled the strap and picked up the baby. “Dad, this is Lorelei, she’s my daughter.”
“Your daughter?” he repeated. “I’m sorry, but your daughter?”
“Yes, she’s my daughter.” He replied. “And she’s four months old.” Stuart held her up so his Dad could see her better.
He looked up at Stuart and studied him for a moment. “I’m sorry, but you never said anything about this, and she’s 4 months. Stuart, why didn’t you tell me?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, its uh, complicated.”
He folded his arms across his chest and glanced from his son to the baby and back again. “I can’t believe that you never told me about her, because it is a big deal, you should have told me.” He pulled the chair out and sat down, motioning for Stuart to do the same. Stuart placed Lorelei back into the seat.
“The situation, wasn’t easy Dad, and I wasn’t sure how to tell you.”
“How you tell me is you pick up the phone and say ‘Hey Dad, you’re going to be a grandfather, I’m having a baby.”
“I could have done that I guess, but there was so much going on.”
“What’s the situation, what was going on?” he wanted to know. “What prevented you from telling me this.“ He looked up towards the door. “Did you come down here by yourself, where is her mother?”
Stuart drew in a deep breath and looked back at his father. “Dad, Lorelei’s mother, she passed away about 4 months ago.”
He lowered his gaze to the table. “I’m so sorry, I had no idea.”
“You’re ok with it?” he asked. “Because as you said, its only been four months son and losing your, girlfriend was she? Is not easy.”
“Dad, she wasn’t my girlfriend.”
He studied him for a moment trying to work out what he meant. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Her name was Lisa Rix, but she wasn’t my girlfriend, she wasn’t my anything actually, I only met her a few months ago.”
“Stuart what the hell are you talking about, that doesn’t make any sense.”
“Ok the baby, she’s not the only thing that’s, well different in my life.” he explained.
“Stuart, can you please just tell me, I’m not sure that I’m in the mood for guessing games.”
“I’m with someone.” He replied. “For about 15 months now.”
“Ok, so you adopted Lorelei?” he asked.
“I swear to god Stuart, what is it with you and these riddles, I see that hasn’t changed.”
“This isn’t easy for me Dad. I wanted to tell you for a long time now, but as I said, not easy, I’m not sure how you’re going to react.” he answered.
“Should I be worried?”
Stuart shook his head. “No, you shouldn’t be, because its not a bad thing and I’m happy, probably the happiest I’ve been in a long time.”
He studied his son for a moment. “I think I can see that, and I’m pleased for you, but please Stu, tell me who it is, and they did come with you, right?”
“Thanks, and yes, he’s here.” he drew in a deep breath and looked up at his Dad, waiting for him to say something, anything, but he just sat there, glancing at the baby, so maybe he hadn’t heard him clearly, or maybe he didn’t care.
“Dad, did you hear me?” He asked.
“Yes I heard you.”
“So you heard the part where I said he, right? Because I’m with a guy, his name is Lincoln, and technically Lorelei is his daughter.”
His father looked up at him. “I’m sorry, what?”
“I’ll explain the details of it later, how we ended up with Lorelei, but yeah, I’ve been with Lincoln for more than a year now, and we also live together.”
“Lincoln?” he repeated. “A guy.”
“Dad, please don’t say what I think you’re going to say, because right now, I’m not sure that I could deal with it, not from you.” he replied.
“You’re in a relationship with a man?”
Stuart lowered his gaze to the table and shook his head slightly.
“But you were engaged to Chloe, and yes I’m aware of the situation there, but I’m sorry, I think I missed something.”
“Yeah I was with Chloe, but then I met Lincoln, that’s what you missed.”
“Stuart, I’m sorry, but you show up here, this is the first time I’ve seen you in nearly 8 months, and you reveal to me that you have a daughter and on top of that, that you’re in a relationship with a man, it’s a lot to take in in just a few minutes. I need a moment here to process.”
“Ok so once you’ve processed this, do you think…”
“But you’re happy?” He asked, cutting him of.
Stuart looked up at him and nodded. “Yeah, very.”
“Then I guess I can’t really argue with that now, can I?”
“I guess not.” He pushed his chair back and stood up. “Can you watch Lorelei for a moment, I’m going to see if Linc has finished bringing the bags in.”
He nodded back at him. “Of course, and I’d like to meet this guy who has apparently made you very happy.”
As he walked out of the room he let out a deep breath. He knew that his dad was a good guy, and he had hoped that he would be alright with this, but you never could tell with some people, so he wasn’t sure that he would be so accepting.
He was more than relieved with what his Dad had said.
Stopping in the foyer, he saw Lincoln standing there, talking on the phone. A moment later he finished the call and turned to look at Stuart.
“So, how’s it going in there.”
Stuart smiled back at him and took a few steps closer, grabbing Linc around the arm. “Yeah, it was ok I guess.”
“So what are you doing now?” He wanted to know.
“Well now you get to meet him. Just remember, don’t call him Chris, he hates that, its strictly Christopher.”
Lincoln couldn’t help but laugh. “Yeah I remember, you did tell me five thousand times on the way here.”
“I know, but still.”
“You need to calm down a little, and the grip on the arm there, kinda freaking me out.” Lincoln grabbed him by the hand and started walking towards the kitchen.
“You really need to chill out.”
They walked into the kitchen and Lincoln saw Christopher sitting at the table with Lorelei. He had picked her up out of the seat and was holding her on his lap.
He looked up a moment later, seeing the two of them standing there. He stood up and walked towards them, letting Stuart take Lorelei and then he shook hands with Lincoln.
“Its nice to finally meet you Christopher.”
“I could say the same to you Lincoln, but seeing as this is the first time I’ve heard about you, I’m sure that you understand, and I don’t mean that in a…”
“Its fine, I do understand.”
Christopher motioned for them to sit at the table. “So it would seem that we have a lot of catching up to do.” He glanced at the baby again. “A lot actually.”
Sara placed Caleb’s bottle down onto the coffee table and walked over to the front door, someone had been ringing the bell for a few minutes now, and they were obviously losing their patience.
She reached out and grabbed the handle, pulling the door open. “Hello.” Standing on the front step was a man who was about 25 years old, he was wearing a baseball cap and he had his sunglasses placed on top of the cap.
“You must be Sara.”
“And you are?”
“Sorry, names Chris, Stuart told you I was coming over, right?”
“Of course he did, the bike.” She replied. She held the door open for him to come inside.
“So they’re in Dallas till next week right.”
“Week after.” She told him. “They’ve gone to see his father.”
Chris nodded and followed Sara through the living room and kitchen and out the back door.
“Are you going to be able to have it finished by the time they get home?” She wondered.
“I think Stu has done some of the work already and yeah, should only take a few days.” He explained.
She opened the garage door and pointed to the crates and where part of the bike was assembled on the far right side.
“Sweet, he’s done more than I thought.” Chris said.
“Ok, well seeing as I know nothing about this, can’t say anything else, but if you need anything at all, just let me know.”
She watched him for a few minutes and then headed back inside.
“Who was that?”
Sara was surprised to see Gretchen sitting at the table. “What are you doing here?”
“Ah yes, my favorite greeting, thanks.”
“You know what I mean.” She replied. “What’s going on?”
“Well I was at home enjoying the peace and quiet until Serena came home, and then LJ and Nika showed up.”
“Right, I’m sorry, but you like the peace and quiet?” Sara laughed.
“What, I do sometimes, and besides when Nika and Serena get together, they never shut the hell up.” She answered. “So Linc’s gone to meet the father in law.”
“Nice change of subject, and yes, they left this morning, they should be in Dallas by now.”
“Why is Chris here?” Gretchen wanted to know.
Sara turned to look at her. “How do you know Chris?”
“He’s a mechanic, he fixed my car a few weeks ago.”
“So in all of Cedar Rapids, Stuart finds Chris.”
“Well actually he told me that he needed some guy, so I suggested Chris.”
“Right, of course you did.”
“So why is he here?”
Sara shrugged her shoulders. “I have no idea.”
“You do realize that I could just go out there and ask him.”
Sara walked over to the table and pulled the chair out. “Something about Stuart and a custom motorbike he bought, and I told Michael that it was a stupid idea, that Lincoln will get himself killed.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t even act surprised over it. I guess that’s guys for you.”
“Thank you for the support, I appreciate it.” Sara shot back.
Gretchen shrugged her shoulders. “What were you expecting?”
“So, I’m sorry Stuart, but I have to ask again, why didn’t you just tell me all of this?” Christopher asked his son.
“Because there was a lot going on, and I just didn’t alright. You know now, so what’s the big deal?”
“The big deal is that you’re in a serious relationship and you’re a father, it’s a big deal its not like you simply brought a new car and forgot to tell me.”
“Yeah well it is a little different Dad.”
“You were really that concerned that I wouldn’t be alright with this?” He replied.
Stuart folded his arms across his chest and stared back at his father. “Yeah, I was actually.”
“Ok, well if we’re being honest here, it wasn’t the first thing I was expecting to hear when you walked in. I was surprised to hear that you’re dating a man, but with saying that, I’m not against it Stuart, not at all, its your choice, if you’re happy.”
“Which I am, and his name is Lincoln.”
“I’m aware of that, I was simply explaining.”
“Fine, so you’re telling me that you’re perfectly alright with this?” he replied.
“Yes of course I am, so you can drop it now.”
“Drop what?” He answered. “What am I doing?”
“Stuart.” Christopher replied, raising an eyebrow at him. “Now, you’re just purposely trying to wind me up.”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“I’ve known for too long now, you’re trying to wind me up.”
Stuart started to grin and Christopher shook his head. “Yeah well what can I say, you make it easy.”
“Thank you, so how about you explain to me exactly how you became a father.” Christopher asked.
“Yeah about that, Lorelei is Lincoln’s ex’s daughter.” Stuart told him.
“And you’re raising her, why?”
“Because Lisa passed away a little more than 3 months ago.” Lincoln added.
“I’m sorry, I had no idea.” Christopher offered.
“Its ok, it wasn’t uh, unexpected, she’d been sick for awhile.”
“And the two of you took on this little girl?” He asked, and they nodded. “Well that’s very admirable of you both.”
“Thanks Dad, she is your granddaughter now, so if you’d be so kind to watch her for a little bit, there’s something I want to do.” Stuart pushed the chair back and stood up. “It won’t be for long, about 30 minutes.” He grabbed Lincoln’s hand and pulled him out of the chair.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Just go with it.” Stuart told him. He looked over his shoulder. “Dad, we’ll be back soon.”
Christopher leant across the table and glanced into the car seat, Lorelei was fast asleep. “Well, as long as you stay that way, I think we should do alright.
“Where the hell are we going?” Lincoln wanted to know. The two of them were walking down the street, and he was clueless as to what Stuart was doing.
“We’re almost there.”
Stuart finally stopped and Lincoln almost knocked into him. They were standing outside of another house.
“Who lives here?”
“My grandmother.” Stuart told him.
“Your grandmother. You never mentioned a grandmother.”
“Yeah I know, sorry about that.” He pushed open the gate and walked up to the front door. “When I talked to Dad, she told him that she wanted to see me.”
“And that had to be right now, and if she’s your grandmother, wouldn’t she want to see Lorelei as well.”
“She will eventually.”
“Because she doesn’t know about her, or about me, does she?” Lincoln asked.
The door finally opened and Stuart’s grandmother stood there. “Its about time you came home.”
“I’m sorry Grandma, I’ve been pretty busy.”
She slapped him on the arm and Lincoln raised an eyebrow. “Well that’s not good enough. I haven’t seen you in almost 8 months.” She held the door open and motioned for them to come inside.
They walked into the living room and sat down. “So, you must be Lincoln. And you can just call me Elizabeth.”
Lincoln was surprised that she knew who he was, and she must have picked up on that.
“Stuart told me about you, I think he called a few weeks after he moved into the house.”
Lincoln looked over at him, again surprised because Stuart had never mentioned anything about it.
“So you know that we’re…” He started to say.
“Dating.” She replied. “Yes, he was very clear about that. So the two of you are living together.”
“Grandma.” Stuart said, shaking his head.
“I’m just making conversation.” She smiled at him.
“No, you’re doing what I do.” He replied. “Dad, didn’t think it was funny either.”
“So you’ve been back for an hour and you’re already winding your father up, its almost like you never left.”
She stood up and walked towards the hallway door, “I’ll be back in a moment.”
Lincoln again looked over at him. “So you get your insane sense of humor from her. Great.”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah well, that’s what mom always used to say.”
“So tell me why we’re here?”
“You’ll find out in a minute.”
Several minutes later, Elizabeth walked back into the room, she was carrying what looked like a shoebox and she handed it over to Stuart.
“What is that?” Lincoln wondered.
Stuart took the lid of and placed it on the sofa. He pulled out an envelope and held it in his hand. “When I was younger, and had no idea that my mom was sick, she left this for me.”
He opened the envelope and took a several page letter, he removed the last sheet from it and handed it over to Lincoln.
He quickly read it and then looked back up at Stuart. “Are you serious?”
“No, are you serious?”
“My husband, worked hard his whole life.” Elizabeth told them. “And was rewarded for that hard work. When Stuart’s mother passed away everything went to him.”
“What about you?”
Elizabeth smiled at Lincoln. “I’m more than comfortable, I’m being taken care of Lincoln, this is what they both would have wanted, so this is what is happening.”
“But this, that’s just insane.”
“Yeah that was pretty much my reaction as well.” Stuart replied.
“But this is, I mean this is nearly $3 million dollars.” Lincoln said.
Stuart shrugged his shoulders.
“Actually there were some stipulations.” Elizabeth explained. “And one of those were that Stuart would receive the money when he became a father, and he was to use the money to help raise the child. She was always worried about it, even though she shouldn’t have been, she wanted them both taken care of. And its not $3 million, it would be more along the lines of $5 million now.”
“I don’t even know what to say.”
“So say nothing.” Elizabeth answered. She stood up again. “Now, would either of you boys like something to drink.”
She didn’t wait for them to answer, she left the room and headed to the kitchen. Once she was out of the room, Stuart shifted in the seat to face Lincoln.
“Ok, before you say a word, because even though you probably wouldn’t say it, I know that you’re thinking it. I did not agree to do this with you, to raise Lorelei, to get this money. Another of those stipulations was that if I was childless at 40, then I’d get the money anyway.”
“I wasn’t thinking that.” Lincoln said.
“Yeah you were, but I just wanted to make myself clear. I just don’t want you to think that, because its not why I’m doing this.”
“I know its not.”
“Ok, so now that’s out of the way. I’m going to use some of the money to set up a fund for Lorelei, school and whatever else there is.”
“Stuart, you don’t have to do that.”
“Yes I do.” He answered. “Its what this money is for. And its what she wanted. And there was something else that I wanted to do. I know that you didn’t own the company back in Chicago that you were the boss, but didn’t own….”
“No fucking way, I’m not going to let you do this Stuart.” He said, cutting him of. “I’m not going to let you.”
“Well too bad, I’m going to anyway.” He replied.
“Why would you do that?”
“Why wouldn’t I?” He responded. “And don’t worry about me, I’ve got plans as well.”
“Stuart, I seriously can’t let you do that, its too much.”
“Would you shut up about it, because I’m going to and you can’t stop me. I want to do this, because I love you and I love Lorelei, so let me.”
Lincoln didn’t say anything, he just nodded.
“Ok good, now we should get in there and stop her before she tries feeding us a 10 course meal, because trust me, she will try.”
They both stood up, but Stuart grabbed his arm to stop him, he leant forward, pressing his lips to Lincoln’s.
“You’re completely insane.” Lincoln told him.
“Yeah I know, but that’s why ya love me.”
Lincoln shook his head and returned the kiss. “I guess that it is.”
Sara stood at the bottom of the stairs, one moment she had her hands at her sides, the next she had folded them across her chest. She didn’t like this, what they were doing, what she was doing, but she was curious and worried.
For almost 15 minutes now, LJ and Nika had been upstairs, arguing. To begin with, she wasn’t sure what it was about, but it soon became clear and that was when the worrying started.
They were arguing over whether or not LJ should call Lisa’s parents to tell them what happened.
LJ had made it clear that he was going to do this, but she didn’t want him to, she thought that because they had played no role in his life, that they didn’t deserve to be told from him, that it was someone else’s responsibility, and he had come back with there wasn’t anyone else to tell them.
It had been a little over 4 months since Lisa passed away, and that phone call still hadn’t been made. She wondered if they knew, if they had read it in a paper, or if someone else had in fact told them.
She dropped her hands to her sides again and turned to face the front door when she heard someone on the other side of it. A moment later, Michael appeared and he studied her, wondering what she was doing, but he soon got his answer when LJ and Nika’s voices carried down the stairs again.
“How long has that been going on for?” He wanted to know.
“About 15 minutes.” She replied. She stepped up to him and slipped her arm around his waist, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “And I’m worried.”
“Well you shouldn’t be, they started this, they’ll work it out.”
“Do you even know what it is that they’re arguing over?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “No actually I don’t.”
“Its about whether or not LJ should call Lisa’s parents.”
“Right.” he replied. “And the verdict is?”
“He wants to, she doesn’t think it’s a good idea.”
He took her by the hand and lead the way over to the sofa. “Sara, no one else can figure this out, it needs to be up to LJ.”
“Or Lincoln.” She pointed out.
“No, he’s already said that he doesn’t want to get involved with it, that it was also up to LJ, if he really wanted to do this.”
“So in other words, I should stay out of it, say nothing and pretend I heard nothing.”
“I think that might be wise.” He said, leaning over and kissing her on the forehead. “Now where is that son of ours?”
“Asleep, and he will stay that way Michael, if you go in there and wake him up.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” He laughed.
Lincoln sat down on the front step and Stuart did the same a moment later.
“We really need to talk about this.” He said after awhile.
“Talk about what?” Stuart replied.
Lincoln placed his elbows on his knees and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
Stuart nodded slightly, even though Lincoln couldn’t see him doing that. “Yeah sure ok, lets talk about it again.”
Lincoln sat up straight and looked at his boyfriend. “I really can’t let you do this.”
“Linc come on. I really don’t get why you’re arguing about it. I wanna do this, its for the three of us.”
“I just don’t want you to feel like you have to.” he answered.
“I don’t feel like that, did you miss the part where I said I wanted to.” He told him. “You’re my boyfriend Linc, and she’s our daughter, and ok I finally get where you’re going with this, you’re worried that other people are going to think that you’re making me do this?”
Lincoln raised an eyebrow at him. “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t think that at all. And I could care to the amount of zero about what other people think.”
“OK, so can we just agree on this already. That money is gonna be used for the three of us, because that’s what its for.” He replied.
“Fine, we’re agreeing.”
Stuart stood up and grabbed Lincoln’s hand pulling him up of the step. They walked into the foyer and stood in the arched doorway watching Christopher who was sitting on the sofa, Lorelei asleep in his arms.
“Yeah well that didn’t take long did it.” Stuart chuckled to himself.
They continued to stand there for several minutes until Christopher finally realized that they were there and he stood up.
“I trust that Elizabeth is well.”
“Dad, you know that she is, she was here this morning to force feed you breakfast.”
“Well it was still polite to ask.” He replied.
“No it wasn’t.” Stuart answered. “Dad, if you actually ate all of the food she’s cooked for you over the years, you wouldn’t fit in this house. We were there for 20 minutes, and she tried to give us a week’s worth of food at once.” He patted his stomach and grinned. “I don’t look like this from doing that.”
Christopher stared back at his son. “Stuart, you eat more than anyone else I’ve ever met, and you’ve never had a problem with a little unwanted weight gain, so stop complaining.”
“I’m not complaining, and yeah you’re right, I could have handled it and I would still look stunning.”
Both Christopher and Lincoln rolled their eyes and Lincoln patted him on the back. “I’m sure you would.”
“Dad do you want me to take Lorelei?”
Christopher shook his head and started walking towards the kitchen. “No thank you, I’m perfectly fine.”
Stuart waited until he had left the room, then he turned to Lincoln and laughed. “You do realize that we might never get her back now.”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “I’m good with a little while at least.”
“So what did you have in mind?” Stuart grinned at him.
“Well seeing as you mentioned it.”
“Wait, so you just left her sitting there?”
Sara shook her head. “No I didn’t. I went to check on Caleb and when I came back, she was gone, so she was the one who never said anything to me about going anywhere.”
“And you have no idea where she went?”
Sara shrugged her shoulders. “I wouldn’t have a clue.”
“Oh shit.” Michael said.
“What is it?”
He stood up and started walking towards the kitchen. “You didn’t think to check the garage did you?”
“What are you tal…..” She replied and then raised her hand to her mouth. “You can’t be serious.”
They both walked outside and approached the garage.
“I’m a little afraid to open the door.” he said.
“So don’t.” She told him. “I mean what good is it going to do if we open that door?”
“But we learnt a long time ago, to never leave anyone alone with Gretchen. And Chris is new around here, and doesn’t know her like we do.”
“What are you worried about exactly?” She asked.
“I’m sure that you don’t want to know.”
“Ok, I’m failing to see what the problem is. I actually think it might be good. Maybe if she…”
“No.” he replied, shaking his head. “Bad, bad idea. He has no clue what’s getting into.”
Sara started laughing. “Well if you really want to know, then open the door.”
LJ came out of the bathroom, he thought he heard Nika, but when he stepped into the room, it was empty.
The two had barely spoken to each other all evening, not after the argument they had had earlier.
He was still determined to call Lisa’s parents, making that call was important to him. He had his reasons for it, and no matter what he said to her, she couldn’t understand it.
Glancing over at the nightstand, he saw the baby monitor. After they had moved out, his bedroom had been turned into a second nursery, so whenever they stayed over, they slept in the guest room, and Liam shared the room with Lorelei, even though most nights, Lorelei was still in with Lincoln and Stuart.
He could hear Liam’s soft gurgling and knew that he had just woken up, or was about to. Quickly pulling on a change of clothes, he picked up the monitor and walked out into the hall and headed towards the stairs.
Nika and Sara were sitting on the sofa, they were laughing about something, what, he had no idea.
When he walked across the room, Nika glanced up at him and made a face, she then pushed of the sofa and stormed out of the room.
“Yeah that’s just fucking well great Nika.” he shouted after her.
“Sorry, but she’s pissing me of.” He replied.
“OK.” Sara nodded. “But can you see her point of view in this?”
“No, because its wrong.” he answered. He moved around the coffee table and sat next to her. “Its not like I’m calling them to ask them to be involved, because I don’t want that now or ever, but they do need to know about Mom, even if they’ve heard about it already, I think that they should hear it from someone who was…”
“I understand.” She told him. “I really do.”
“Then how can you sit there and say that she has a point on this, because its not up to her, and actually, its nothing to do with her.”
“She just doesn’t want you to get hurt.” Sara pointed out. “None of us do.”
“Yeah I know, but I’m still going to call them. Tomorrow.”
“Damn it Gretchen, do you have to do that?”
“Do what?” She replied. She was standing in front of the refrigerator and eventually settled on a bottle of water. She turned towards the table where Michael was sitting.
“Can you possibly make some sort of sound, I feel like I’m being stalked by an elf, and also, don’t you have your own home to go to?”
“An elf?” she replied. “Are you serious?”
“Doesn’t make it any less true.” He pointed out.
“And yes there is a home out there somewhere, which is currently being overrun by teenagers.”
“Still?” He replied. “I think that excuse is starting to wear a little thin there Gretch.”
She pulled a chair out from the table and sat down. “Yeah well I’m basically cursing the day that Serena found out that I was her mother, and then the day she moved into the house with me. That was a bad bad decision.”
“So instead you move in here and torture us, thank you for that by way.”
“I haven’t moved in here.” She glared at him. “Babies, Stuart and Lincoln, I can handle, but teenagers, its like the nightmare that never ends. If she keeps this up…”
“You’ll do what?” he asked.
She took another mouthful of her water and shook her head.
“Ok, when I said what do you have in mind, I seriously can’t say that I was expecting this.” Stuart said, chuckling to himself.
“What we’re you thinking?” Lincoln asked, turning to look at his boyfriend.
“Obviously not what I had in mind.” Stuart said. “How did you even know that this was tonight.”
“it’s a thing called signs and news.”
Stuart reached over and punched Lincoln on the arm. “Hilarious.”
“Well I thought so.” He walked down row of seats and soon found theirs. “And hey, how could we come to Dallas and not see the Mavericks play.”
Stuart shook his head. “You’re crazy.”
“I thought you liked basketball?” Lincoln replied.
“Well yeah I do.”
“And didn’t you say once that you were going to go to every game that was played in a season.”
“Yeah I said that as well, but it was more a figure of speech, what was I supposed to do, stalk the team across the country.”
Lincoln narrowed his eyes at him. “Ok whatever, can we just watch the game now.”
20 minutes into the game, Stuart leant across the seat. “You think that Lorelei is alright?”
“I’m sure she’s fine, Christopher seemed more than happy to watch her.” Lincoln said, looking up at him. “Why do you ask?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “No reason really, I was just thinking.”
LJ pushed the door shut and walked across the room. Nika was already in bed, and he thought about saying something to her, but when she refused to even look at him, he shook his head and walked around to his side of the bed, sitting down.
He stayed there for several minutes, finally deciding to look at her. “I’m going to call them tomorrow.”
“Do whatever you want LJ.” She shot back.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He wanted to know. “Why are you making such a big deal out of this?”
She pushed herself up against the pillows and folded her arms across her chest, glaring at him. “You don’t get it do you?”
“Then why don’t you tell me.”
“They don’t deserve a phone call from you LJ. They’ve not been a part of your life, you don’t even know them.”
“That’s not the point.” he answered. “It never was. But they need to be told about Mom.”
“What makes you think that they’ll even care.”
“Sure, I get that they’re horrible people, but she’s their daughter.”
“And what happens if they don’t?” She replied. “You’ll be the one it affects.”
“You know what, I don’t care what you say Nika, because you’re wrong, and I’m making that call.”
She pushed the covers back and stood up walking towards the door. “Go to hell LJ.” She pulled the door open and then slammed it behind her.
LJ leant back on the bed and sighed heavily. The fight they had been having over this, had been for more than 4 months now, and it wasn’t just about the decision to call Lisa’s parents, it was starting to include everything.
He closed his eyes and remembered back to a few months ago when they had had a fight, it had gotten so bad that she had threatened to walk out, to go back to Cedar Rapids and stay with her parents.
He was aware that the others knew they had been fighting lately, but they had no idea just how bad it had gotten, and he was determined to keep it that way.
LJ threw the phone down onto the bed and raised his hands to his face, wiping at his eyes. He was exhausted, not just tired, but that extreme worn out, stressed kind of exhausted. He hadn’t felt like that since, well since Chance Woods.
He paced back and forth for a few minutes, every so often his gaze would fall on the phone he had thrown on the bed. The purpose of it was to make the phone call, but after he had been downstairs, another argument with Nika had erupted and he had stormed up the stairs, slamming the bedroom for dramatic effect.
The fight this time, wasn’t even about Lisa’s parents, no this time it was because Nika wanted to go back to Ames in two days time like they had planned, but LJ had refused, saying that he wanted to stay a little longer.
She had made a point of him missing too many classes, but he didn’t care about that, not right now. There were more important things to do right now.
He could hear footsteps on the stairs and threw his head back, sighing heavily, he was sure that Nika had come back for round two, something he really wasn’t in the mood for.
But when whoever happened to walk past, walked past and didn’t knock on the door, he sat down on the end of the bed, resting his head in his hands.
He had been more than adamant about making that call, so why was he putting it of? He was there, he had the phone, all he had to do now, was dial the number.
So why wasn’t he?”
Sighing again, he fell back against the bed and closed his eyes. Just a few minutes of quiet and he would feel better, he was sure of it.
“That was biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever seen.” Lincoln retorted.
“Well I’m sure you’re yelling and screaming at them, made it all better.” Stuart chuckled to himself.
They made their way towards the parking lot and Stuart fished around in his pockets for the car keys.
“So you think Lorelei has driven Christopher completely insane yet?” Lincoln wondered.
“I’m sure he’s fine.” Stuart answered. He unlocked the door and climbed into the driver’s seat. A moment later, Lincoln was in the car, slamming the door shut and Stuart pulled out of the parking lot.
“Total crap.” Lincoln said.
“It was just a game.”
“Yeah and they damn well lost.” He pointed out. “I’m pissed of now.”
“Really, because I couldn’t tell.” Stuart laughed.
“Its not funny.”
Stuart glanced over at him. “It is just a little bit.”
15 minutes later, they were back at the house, parked in the driveway. Lincoln had been silent most of the drive home, and now they were just sitting there.
“OK, so you’re really that pissed of about the game?” Stuart asked after awhile.
“No, I’m over it now.” He replied. He turned in the seat to face his boyfriend.
“Are you really?” Stuart asked him. “Cos, with the sil…”
Lincoln leant forward, cupping Stuart’s cheek with his hand and pressed his lips to his.
“Ok, what was that for?”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “No reason, there doesn’t need to be one does there?”
Stuart shook his head and smiled back at him. “Not at all. You were just trying to shut me up weren’t you?”
Lincoln smiled this time. “Hey, I’m always trying to do that. But that’s nothing new.”
“I’m slightly offended by that.” Stuart pouted.
Lincoln leant back in the seat a little, his hand resting on Stuart’s thigh. “I’m good with having done that.”
“Yeah, and I’ll get you back for it later.” He grinned at him.
They continued to sit there for awhile longer until Stuart took the keys out of the ignition and shoved them into his pocket and then leant across the seat. “We should probably get inside, let Dad of babysitting duty.”
“We could do, or we could sit here awhile longer.” He answered.
Stuart snaked his arm around Lincoln’s neck and pulled him closer. “You know there’s something that I…” He managed to get out between kisses. “I want to uh, tell you something.”
He sat back in the seat and looked up at Lincoln, who was waiting for detail.
“You know that surprise…”
“Yeah, I remember it, what about it?”
“Well it is for you, and I’m not going to tell you what it is, you are going to have to wait until we get home, but there is a reason for it.”
“Are you going to tell me what that is?” he wondered.
“A gift.” Stuart told him.
“Yeah I’m getting that, what for?”
“Well just after Lorelei was born, we’d been together for a year. And I’m not the anniversary celebrating guy, I don’t think I’ve ever been and I have no idea how you feel about that, but with everything else that was going on, I just thought that leaving it for later, would be a good idea.”
“Uh Stu, you’re rambling.” he pointed out.
“Yeah, I know that, but anyway, that’s what it is.”
“You bought me an anniversary gift?” Lincoln said with a smile.
Stuart studied him for a moment. “Yeah, is there something wrong with that?”
Lincoln shook his head a moment later. “No, there’s not, just wasn’t expecting it is all.”
“Ok good, so when we get home, you’ll find out what it is.” Stuart added. He leant across kissing him again before he opened the door and climbed out of the car and headed towards the front door.
“So how was the game?” Christopher asked when the two walked into the den.
They noticed that he had set up the bassinette and Lorelei was fast asleep.
“How did it go?” Stuart wondered.
Christopher stood up and motioned for them to follow him into the other room. “It went well, she’s an amazing little girl and you should be proud.”
“Dad, she’s barely five months old.”
“I’m aware of that, but still, its true.”
“Well thanks.” Stuart told him. “And the game was good, until we lost.”
“Sorry to hear that.” He replied.
Stuart shook his head. “No you’re not. And I think that we’re going to call it a night.”
He walked back into the den towards the bassinette. “You think she’ll wake up anytime soon?”
“Well she woke a little while ago. I gave her the bottle you left. I think she’ll be fine for a few hours.”
Lincoln picked up the bassinette and carried it down the hall towards their bedroom.
“Dad, thanks for this, we really appreciate it.”
Christopher smiled back at his son. “Anytime Stuart.”
LJ finally picked up the phone and after much hesitation, he finally dialed their number. He waited several minutes, until someone finally picked up.
“Uh hello.” LJ replied.
He had met them a few times, when he was younger, but he really didn’t know them. They had barely acknowledged him in their brief encounters. But they were his other grandparents, and the realization that he had no relationship with them, hit him when he heard his voice.
“Is this Jonathon?”
“It is, can I ask who’s calling?”
“Its LJ, uh, Lisa’s son.”
There was silence on the other end for a few moments.
“Are you still there?”
“I’m still here. LJ, can I ask why you’re calling?”
So maybe they had no idea of what had happened, and now he had to tell them the news, more than 4 months after the fact. And he was nervous.
“Its about mom, something’s happened…..”
“You really don’t know why I’m calling?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t. This call LJ, it is a little unexpected.”
Anger flashed in his eye, even though Jonathon couldn’t see him. LJ was furious. It had after all been 4 months, so was it possible that they had no clue what had happened to their own daughter?
“Right. Because you’ve shown so much damn interest in us before.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t have called you. It probably was just a mistake.”
“LJ, it wasn’t a mistake to call. Now what’s this you said about your mother?”
He sat there, the phone pressed to his hear, staring at the floor, as if that would somehow give him answers, as if it would help. The shorter the phone call was, the better he thought. “Mom passes away more than 4 months ago. Did you even know that?”
There was silence on the other end of the line for several minutes, and when LJ heard a voice again, it wasn’t Jonathon, it was Charlotte.
“LJ, are you still there?”
“Yeah I’m here.”
“Can you please tell me what happened.”
“Like you really care.” he muttered, but it was loud enough for her to hear.
“Of course I care. No matter how strained our relationship was, she is still my daughter. Now please, can you tell me what happened.”
“She uh, she had breast cancer, she was sick for a long time, and she died July 20th.”
Charlotte inhaled a sharp breath which seemed to echo through the line. “But you were with her?”
“Yeah, so was my Dad.”
“I had no idea, I hadn’t spoken to her in so long, and when she called, she never mentioned anything about being ill.”
“So I guess she never said anything about being pregnant either?” He shot back.
“What are you talking about?”
“Mom had a baby about three weeks before she died. That’s why she was so sick, because she didn’t get any treatment because she didn't want to risk harming the baby.”
“is the baby alright?”
“Yeah, my little sister is just fine.” He said through gritted teeth.
“It’s a girl?”
“Her name is Lorelei.”
“Who’s taking care of her if Lisa is uh, where is she?”
“Dad’s looking after her.”
“Your father is?”
LJ hated that she sounded surprised by that, it just served to piss him of even more. “Yeah, they worked it out before she died, Dad is Lorelei’s legal guardian. See even though she isn’t his kid, he still wanted her.”
“LJ, can I speak to your father?”
“No you can’t. He’s not here, he’s gone to stay with someone who actually gives a damn.”
“LJ, you’re still young, you don’t understand the situation.” She replied.
“Yeah I do, I understand perfectly well. I know exactly what type of people you are, and I’m not so young. See something else that you have no clue about. I’m a father now, my son is 9 months old.”
“Like mother like son I see. You really do take after her.”
LJ saw red again. “Look, I just thought that you should know what happened. But I don’t need anything from you, you know nothing about me or my life and as far as I’m concerned, you can go to hell.”
He ended the call, and out of pure anger, he threw the phone across the room, it slammed into the wall, breaking in half and fell to the floor.
Christopher made his way down to the living room, he was surprised to see the lamp was turned on, and he saw his son sitting on the sofa.
As he moved further into the room, he could see that Lorelei was curled up in his arms, and Stuart was humming to her.
“Was she awake for long?”
Stuart looked up at him and smiled. “No, she went back to sleep pretty much straight away.”
Christopher sat down on the sofa opposite him. “You got that singing voice from your mother.”
Stuart studied him for a moment. “Really, I had no idea that she could sing.”
“When you were younger, she would do exactly what you’re doing now.”
Stuart glanced down at this daughter.
“She would be proud of you Stuart.”
“You think so?”
Christopher nodded back at him. “Yes she would be.”
Stuart leant back against the sofa cushions. “You think she’d be so proud to know that he son is gay?”
“She’d be proud of you no matter what, I’m sure that you haven’t forgotten, but you were her world Stuart. Everything she did, it was for you.”
“I guess it would just be nice if she were here to see this.”
They sat in a comfortable silence for several minutes.
“Everything is really working out for you, isn’t it?” He asked his son.
Stuart drew in a deep breath. “It really is, god you have no idea how much.”
“I think that I can see it. I think that I’ve been able to see it from the moment you walked in the door Stuart.” He told his son. “Oh and by the way, I’ll forgive you for not telling me about Lincoln sooner, and the fact that your grandmother knew before I did.”
Stuart started grinning. “Well, she kinda figured it out, when I called her awhile back, she knew that I was seeing someone, she dragged it out of me.”
“She thinks he’s wonderful by the way.“ Christopher added. “And I have to admit that he seems to be doing you the world of good.”
“I’m in love with him, but if you had asked me a few years ago, I never would have said that this would have happened. Not at all. But now that it has, I couldn’t imagine not having him, or her for that matter.”
“Then you’re lucky.” he replied.
“You know I thought that I had it all when I was with Chloe, but it wasn’t even close. Because its not only Lincoln and Lorelei I’ve gotten out of this, there’s Michael and Sara as well. Not to mention LJ who is a great kid, you’d really like him.”
“Well I hope that I get a chance, and soon to meet him.”
“You should see him with his boy Dad. I mean he is only 18, but he’s doing it right you know. That family, my life would pretty much suck without them.”
“Its not that family, its your family Stuart. And I’m sure that they know you as well as I do, so they get how lucky they are as well.”
“I’d like to think so.”
They sat in silence for several minutes, until Stuart sat forward on the sofa. “Dad.”
“I know that it wouldn’t be the same, not like it would have been with Chloe, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t feel like the same to us, cos its really just a bit of paper, its everything else that’s important right.” he told him.
“Stuart I’m sorry, but I’m not sure that I understand what you’re on about.”
“Its what I was saying, about loving him, because I really do. But I don‘t know if he‘s thinking it, or has ever thought about it, but I have, and ok sometimes I think its weird, or I think that other people will, but it means something to me. It always has, its why I asked Chloe, because its important, and it doesn‘t matter who it is right, as long as you love them.”
“Stuart, you‘re rambling again.” he pointed out.
“I wanna marry him Dad, in whatever sense that might mean.”
“Why won’t you just tell me what happened?” She shouted at him. “I don’t understand you LJ, why?”
“I already told you that I don’t want to talk about them.” He shot back. “So stop damn well asking.”
Nika shook her head and stormed over to the door.
Sara carried her coffee cup with her into the living room and sat down on the sofa. She had just managed to settle down, for what she thought would be at least a good half an hour of quiet before LJ came downstairs, he was soon followed by Nika and the two were arguing again.
Sara placed the cup down onto the coffee table and turned in her seat. “Come on guys, you really need to sort this out.”
Nika folded her arms across her chest and nodded slightly, glancing over at Sara and then back to LJ. “I think I just have.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” LJ shot back.
Nika drew in a deep breath. “It means that I’m not going back to Ames with you LJ. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t stand the constant arguing, and I just…”
“You’re not, you’re not going back?” he stuttered. “No, Nika come on you can’t do that, you don’t really mean it.”
“Yes I do mean it.” She dropped her arms to her sides, and Sara felt bad for them both when Nika started to cry. She wanted to disappear out of the room, but it was awkward, so she thought if she just stayed put.
“I can’t do this anymore. For months now, this is all we’ve done.”
“Its not all.” He replied. He quickly glanced over his shoulder, aware that Sara was still in the room. His hopes that this would be kept between himself and Nika, were gone, because Sara knew now, just how bad it gotten.
LJ drew in a deep breath and took a few steps closer to Nika, but she backed away from him. “You can do whatever you want LJ. But I can’t stay here, not like this.”
“You’re going back to your parents?” He asked her. “Nika, I don’t want you to leave. Please.”
“This was a mistake.” She said.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I really thought that we could make this work LJ, but its just not. I should have listened to them, I should have known better.”
“Listened to who?”
“To everyone, when we first got together, they said this was a mistake, and that it would never work.” She shook her head, and wiped at her cheek. “I’m sorry LJ, but, its not, and we’re done, we’re done.”
She spun around and ran upstairs, leaving LJ to stand there, stunned at what had just happened. Sara sat there in shock, which only got worse when LJ picked up the small table from the end of the sofa and flung it across the room, smashing the photo frame and glass box into a dozen pieces.
He spun to look at her, anger flashing in his eyes, and then he stormed out of the room, slamming the kitchen door on his way.
“Stuart, are you sure about that?” Christopher replied. “Its not something that you should take lightly.”
Stuart had said previously that he had been thinking about it, and he had, for a few a months now. He was aware that they hadn’t been together for that long, a year and a half, but it was serious between them, enough for this, at least he thought so.
“Do you think I’m not taking this seriously?” He shifted in the seat. “Dad, I’ve thought about this, I wanted to get married, I still do, and now going from the current look on your face, you’re against the idea.”
“Its not that Stuart, and you know it. I just want you to be sure that it’s the right thing.” He replied.
“Well it is, I know it is.”
“Then if its what you want.”
“It is, I’m going to ask him.” Stuart replied. “And soon.”
Christopher drew in a deep breath and nodded slightly. He was pleased that his son was so happy, and it wasn’t that he didn’t support him, or agree with it, but he did worry, knowing that there were people out there, who wouldn’t support their decision. He never wanted his son’s life to be difficult, and the path he had chosen, meant that sometimes there was no avoiding it.
“When do you plan on doing that?”
Stuart shifted again, careful not to wake Lorelei. “Well actually it was our one year anniversary a few months ago, around the time Lorelei was born actually, and we never did anything, because well, we’re both not big on that sort of thing, and everything that was going on with Lisa”
“I’m sorry, you’re saying that you’re not big on celebrating?” Christopher laughed. “The man who is talking about proposing and getting married?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Well yeah ok, but awhile ago, Linc told me about this motorbike that he saw and liked, but that he couldn’t afford, and its custom, so I kind of bought it, and it will be all good to go once we get home.”
“And you will ask him then?”
Stuart nodded back at his father. “I think so.”
“Stuart I have to point out, that you may not get the answer you’re hoping for.”
“I know that, but its gonna be worse if I don’t ask right, cos then I’ll never know.”
Stuart glanced down when he felt Lorelei stir and she opened her eyes, staring up at him before the tears started. And with that Christopher stood up again.
“I think I’ll leave you to sort that out.”
When Stuart finally took Lorelei back the bedroom, he was surprised to see Lincoln standing at the window. He placed his daughter into the bassinette and moved over to the window. He reached out and placed his hand on the small of Lincoln’s back, his fingers hooking under the hem of his shirt, and he jumped slightly, probably at the difference in temperature, but he still looked up at him and offered a half smile.
“Are you alright?” Stuart asked him.
Lincoln hesitated a moment before answering. “I got a message from LJ, he said that something has happened and he doesn’t know what to do, but that I shouldn’t worry and he’ll explain tomorrow.”
“And that’s it, he didn’t give you anything else?”
Lincoln shook his head. “No nothing else.”
“You want to call him back, don’t you?”
Lincoln shifted closer to the window, but turned around, leaning against the wall, he folded his arms across his chest. “I want to, but he said not to worry, that he would explain later, but I can’t help it.”
Stuart stepped towards him, resting his hand on Lincoln’s arm. “I’m sure he’s fine, if it was an emergency, he would have said so, you know that. Or you can be sure that Michael or Sara would let you know.”
Lincoln looked up at him again. “Yeah, I can believe that.” He glanced over at the bassinette. “So how long do you think she’s gonna stay asleep?”
Lincoln rolled over, but he couldn’t move his arm, it appeared to be caught, and when he opened his eyes, he was hit with the harsh sunlight pouring in through the blinds. When his eyes had adjusted, he could see that Stuart was lying beside him on his side, on his arm, the reason he couldn’t move more than a few inches either way.
After a moment of internal debating, he decided to not try and get up, because he didn’t want to wake Stuart.
He focused his intention on the bassinette across the room and after some careful listening, he determined that Lorelei was either still asleep, or that she wasn’t in there, meaning that Stuart must have gotten up earlier, meaning that Christopher had the little girl.
He lay there for several minutes until Stuart finally stirred, rolling of off his arm and allowing Lincoln movement. He lay on his stomach, but tilted his head up to look at Lincoln.
“For what?” Lincoln replied.
“For killing your arm.” Stuart pointed out.
“I’m not complaining.” He shifted on the mattress a little. “Does Christopher have Lorelei?”
Stuart nodded as much as he was able to. “Yeah, a few hours ago she woke up, I took her out to the living room, Dad said he’d keep an eye on her. So we have a bit of time before you’ll want to get up and call LJ back.”
Lincoln sighed and leant back against the pillow. “I guess I hadn’t thought about it until now.”
He shook his head, running his hand across his cropped hair. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I know that if it was serious, someone would have told me.”
“But you still have no idea what it is about though, and I don’t know why I keep bringing it up.”
“I think that maybe it has something to do with Nika, Sara told me a few days before we left, that she had heard them arguing a lot.”
“You never said anything about that.” Stuart told him. He shifted on the bed, tucking his arm under the pillow, while he rested his other hand against Lincoln’s chest.
“I guess I never thought it was that bad, but they’re smart kids, they’ll work it out.”
“That I have no doubt over.” He shuffled forward on the mattress, raising his hand, he cupped Lincoln’s chin, tilting his head up and pressed his lips to Lincoln’s.
“You know I love you right.”
A smile played across Lincoln’s lips. “I have my suspicions.”
“Oh thank goodness that you’re up.”
Stuart glanced towards the changing table where Lorelei was lying, and screaming at the top of her lungs, she was waving her arms around, probably wanting to be picked up, he walked across the room to where his father was standing, and from the looks of it, he was in the process of changing her diaper.
“You alright there Dad?” He laughed.
“No I am not.” Christopher replied, he looked up at his son. “I don’t recall ever having to do this before.”
“Well it is just a diaper, what are you expecting will happen?”
“That’s what I’m afraid of. I don’t know what I‘m expecting.” he answered.
Stuart picked up the diaper and moved around the table . “Its ok Dad, I’ve got it.”
“There was a phone call this morning, it was LJ.”
Stuart whipped his head up, “What did he say, is everything alright?”
Christopher nodded back at him. “Yes, he said to tell you both that he’s working on it, and that he really didn’t mean to worry you. Apparently you would understand what that meant?”
“Well part of it anyway.” Stuart said. He finished changing Lorelei and moved over to the sofa.
“And another thing. Please take that little girl to see Elizabeth. The constant calls from her…”
“Are driving you insane.” Stuart laughed. “Yeah, we’ll take her over there today.”
Sara had just finished putting together a bottle for Caleb when the kitchen door flew open. She was startled to see Paul standing there.
“Sorry about that, wind caught it.”
“That’s your excuse, and you’re sticking to it right?”
He smiled back at her, and moved closed, wrapping his arms around her. “Its good to see you Sara.”
“You to Paul, how is everything?” She wanted to know. She stepped back and placed the bottle onto the counter.
“As good as they can be I suppose.”
“How was Chicago?” She motioned for him to follow her over to the table and they both sat down.
“Pretty much the same, you’re not really missing out on anything.” He explained.
“OK, you still haven’t mentioned anything about Jessica, is she ok, how did the rehab work out?” Sara desperately wanted to know.
“She’s better, Sara I just wanted to thank you again for that, I mean the last time you were over at the house, I knew that there was something going on with her, but she wouldn’t talk to me, you picked it right away.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I’m a Doctor Paul, its kinda my job to notice these things.”
“Yeah, but how the hell you picked up on the fact she was addicted to her painkillers.” He told her. “I should have known, but I never even thought that that was what was wrong with her. But she’s good now. She’s 3 months clean, and her physiotherapy has gone well too, she’s walking without an aide, she’s good.”
Sara smiled back at him. “That’s good Paul. I’m glad that things are working out for you.”
“So she’s back at home, she wanted to come over, but figured she give herself a few days to get settled in.”
“Of course, I completely understand. “
“So, how is everyone?” He asked, motioning around the room.
“We’re all good actually, well for the most part.” She replied. “Linc and Stuart have taken Lorelei down to Dallas.”
“What did you mean for the most part?”
“LJ and Nika broke up last night.” She replied.
“But he finally convinced her to stay so that they could at least talk about it, I don’t know what’s going to happen though.”
OK, well is he asleep? I’ve only seen him a few times.”
Sara smiled again. “He’s actually due to wake any minute, I was in the process of taking him a bottle.”
They both stood up and Sara grabbed the bottle and they headed up the stairs.
When they walked into the room, Michael was sitting in the armchair under the window with Caleb curled up in his arms.
“Paul, its good to have you back, how is everything?”
Paul nodded slightly. “Good.” He moved across the room, and glanced down at Caleb who was wide awake and waving his arms around. “Can I?”
Michael stood up and passed Caleb over to him.
“Wow, he’s definitely gotten a lot bigger.”
“Well he’s a little over four months.” Sara said. “Its gone too quickly, I wish he would stop it.”
“Yeah well before you know it, he’ll be an annoying teenager. I think that’s when you’ll really be able to complain about getting older.” He laughed. “You I meant, not him.”
Sara playfully slapped him across the arm. “Thank you.”
She really didn’t want to imagine her son as a teenager, the thought filled her with dread, because no matter what, Caleb would always be her baby boy.
LJ pushed the door open and stepped into the room. He saw Nika sitting on the floor at the end of the bed, her legs were pulled up against her chest, and she had wrapped her arms around herself.
He closed the door, but hesitated for a moment before he walked across the room and sat down in front of her. “We really need to talk about this.”
She looked up at him, but didn’t make eye contact. “I’m not sure there’s anything to talk about.”
He sighed heavily and rocked back on the spot. “Nika, come on, we have to fix this. Because I won’t let you leave.”
“You can’t stop me.”
He shook his head. “No, I guess that I can’t, but I think I’ll get you to change your mind.”
This time she did make eye contact with it. “That’s just it LJ, why do you have to get me to change my mind, to think what you’re thinking, because it doesn’t always work like that.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
She sighed heavily and leant her head back against the edge of the bed.
He had managed to get her to stay, so far, she had been very determined the previous night to leave, but he convinced her to stay, they hadn’t really done much talking, but whatever was happening, was progress, at least in his eyes, it was better than her not being there at all.
“So, what do you think, Nika, please give me something.” He pleaded with her.
“I think that we should take some time apart.”
He lowered his gaze to the floor, and twisted his fingers together. “So in other words, you want to break up, and that’s it.”
“No LJ, that’s not what I’m saying, I don’t think. I just believe that it would be a good idea if we spent a few weeks apart and….”
“And what is that going to do?” He replied, cutting her of. “Nika, how is that supposed to help us?”
“I just need some room to breathe, all of this arguing, I can’t stand it anymore and I need to just…” She shifted against the bed.
“NIka, please just tell me that this is what it is, that you need some time, because if what you really mean is, if you want to break up, can you please just come out and say it.”
“Stu, I don’t know what you’re freaking out over, I have met her already.”
They walked up to the front door, and Stuart glanced over his shoulder. “Yes, I know that, but in a similar way to me, she’s insane.”
He pushed open the front door, and stepped inside, holding the door open for Lincoln who was carrying Lorelei in her car seat. A moment later, they made their way to the living room, and weren’t even given a chance to sit before Elizabeth appeared. Demanding that they hand over the baby.
Lincoln placed the seat on the floor and unbuckled Lorelei, picking her up and passing her to Elizabeth. She moved across the room to her chair, cradling the 5 month old in her arms.
“She’s absolutely beautiful, and thank goodness she looks like neither of you.”
“Thank you.” Stuart replied. “But you’ve seen me, I’m fantastic.”
“And I see you haven’t changed at all.” She told him. “But really, the both of you should be proud.”
“I guess we’ll see when she’s old enough to talk, see how much she really is like us.”
“Perhaps you shouldn’t be around her when she’s able to talk.” Elizabeth answered.
“Again, thank you.” Stuart grinned at her. “Give me back my daughter.”
Elizabeth glanced up at him, and Lincoln couldn’t help but smile at the look she gave him. A moment later, she stood up and walked out of the room.
“So, you think she’s gonna jump out of the window, take Lore and run away?” Lincoln laughed.
“You know, I’m sure she’d like to try.” Stuart said. He leant back on the sofa, and reached across, placing his hand on Lincoln’s knee. “Dad told me this morning, that LJ called.”
Lincoln looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. “He did?”
Stuart nodded back at him. “Yeah, he us said that everything was alright, and he didn’t mean to worry us, but he was working it out, or had worked it out.”
“OK, well I’ll call him later, if we ever get Lore back and leave.”
“I was thinking.”
“And that can’t be good.” he smiled at his boyfriend.
“Well there is that. But I was thinking that even though Dad and Grandma live here, I thought it might be kinda nice if we brought a place here, cos its where I grew up and I’d like Lore to have some of that as well.”
“You want us to buy a place, together, here.” He repeated.
“Yeah, is it just me, or did that sound odd, like you’re surprised, cos uh we’re living together, we have a kid.”
“No that was not me being surprised, I was just… processing.”
“Yeah, I think that would be a good idea.”
“No that was a funny joke. Yes I meant it.” he told him. “I think it’s a good idea.”
“OK good, cos I already actually have a place in mind.”
The two stood near the front door, LJ folded his arms across his chest, a determined look on his face, while Nika stood there, tears staining her cheeks.
“LJ, that isn’t fair, you can’t do that.”
“I’m not doing anything.” he shot back. “You’re the one who’s walking out. You made that choice, and by doing that, you agreed that you’re not leaving here with Liam.”
“LJ. He is my son.” She replied.
“Yeah, but he is also my son as well. And I’m not letting you take him. If you need some room to breathe so badly, then you can go and have that, but you’re not taking him.”
She shook her head, still more tears lining her face. “LJ, you can’t do this. He’s barely ten months old, he needs me.”
“He’s not the only one.” He retorted.
The arguing had drawn Michael and Sara downstairs, and while they really didn’t want to get involved, they knew that they couldn’t just stand by any longer and let this continue.
“Perhaps you two should just sit down and talk about this.” Michael suggested.
LJ shook his head. “No, there’s no more talking. She’s made that perfectly clear.”
“LJ, come on.” Sara urged him.
“No!” He shot back, turning to look at her. “She’s leaving, she’s going to her parents, and I’m staying here, with Liam.”
Lincoln stood at the front gate with his arms folded across his chest. Every so often he would glance over at Stuart, trying to decide if he was serious or not, he still hadn’t, yet.
“Ok, can you please say something.” Stuart finally said after several minutes of silence.
“Uh yeah, I’m working on it.”
“You don’t like it, do you?”
Lincoln shifted on the spot, glancing at Stuart again. “No, its not that, but I mean seriously, we’re only 3 people, occasionally more, does it really need to be that big?”
“Yeah, and its not that big, not really.”
Lincoln dropped his hands to his sides, but then pointed over at the house. “Are you kidding me, this entire town could live in there.”
Stuart rolled his eyes at him. “Oh sure they could.”
“How many bedrooms does it have?” Lincoln questioned him. He pushed open the gate and started walking up to the front door, Stuart quickly followed him.
“Uh well, what does that matter?”
“6.” Stuart told him.
“And who needs 6 bedrooms?”
Stuart unlocked the front door, allowing Lincoln to walk in. “Well we do. Cos if we all came down here…”
“Yeah ok.” Lincoln replied.
They walked through the foyer and into what Lincoln soon learned was one of two living rooms.
“So what do you think?”
“I guess its nice.”
“Is that it?”
“Well it’s a house.” Lincoln replied, walking through a large set of folding doors into what looked like a library. “OK, are you damn well kidding me.”
He glanced over his shoulder to see Stuart standing right behind him. “Yes Linc, it’s a library. But what do you think of the house, are you leaning towards a yes or a no?”
“You’re not even going to look at anything else?” he questioned his boyfriend.
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Well not if you like this place.”
“Yeah, I like it just fine.” He turned to face him. “What I’m worried about, is the hard on you seem to have this place.”
Stuart raised an eyebrow at him. “Really, that was a nice way for you to put it.”
“Doesn’t mean its not true.” he grinned back. He took a step closer, dropping his hand to his side, he pressed his hand against Stuart’s crotch. “Yeah, I knew it.”
“Damn it Linc, was that necessary right now?”
Still grinning at him, he nodded. “Well I thought so. And yeah this place is fine.”
Stuart looked up at him, Lincoln was still standing there, not having moved his hand. “Linc.”
“So it sounds like this is the place right. So that would mean that no one else is going to come in to see it?”
Stuart swallowed hard, and shook his head. “No one else is… coming.”
“Good to know.”
Stuart leant forward catching Lincoln’s mouth with his own. A moan escaped Stuart’s mouth as he felt Lincoln unzip his jeans, and slide his hand into his boxers. He pulled away for a moment, his eyes locked on Lincoln’s.
“You have some serious issues.”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah I do.”
“So.” Michael said, sitting down next to Sara on the sofa. “You saw him this morning? Is everything alright?”
She glanced up at him. “As alright as they can be I suppose. I think he’s pretty heartbroken right now.”
“It would be a wild guess to say that he wanted Liam here with him, in the hopes that she would reconsider, that she would come back?” He said.
“I think that’s exactly what he was hoping for. But I never thought for a second that she would actually leave him here.”
“Do you think it would help if someone spoke to her?” he wondered.
Sara shrugged her shoulders. “I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that maybe she’s, I just think that perhaps she needs the break, I don’t mean from LJ, but from Liam.”
“What do you mean?”
“She has all of us, a ton of people to take care of Liam if she needed that, but for the most part, she’s with that little boy 24 hours a day, I think its starting to be too much for her.”
Michael drew in a deep breath and leant back against the cushions. “So you think that once she has a few days away, she’ll be alright, that she’ll be back.”
Sara glanced up at him and shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe, for all their sakes I really hope so.”
“You really just walked out and left your son there?” Gretchen cried out.
Nika glanced up at her, anger flashing in her eyes. “Do you really think that you’re the person to be giving me this speech.”
“Fair enough, but you’re not me Nika, I would never have imagined that you would do that.” She pointed out.
“I just needed to get away from it all.”
“Sure, I can understand that, but you have plenty of people to ask for help Nika, if you needed anything, you just had to ask.”
“I trust LJ with our son, I know that Liam will be alright.”
“That’s great, but you still walked out.” She replied. “What are you going to do Nika? Have you got a plan?”
“I just need a few days to myself.”
“Sure, but there are easier ways that you could have gotten that.”
“Thank you.” She retorted. “I don’t need you telling me what I did wrong, I didn’t ask for your input.”
“Well that’s too damn bad, because you’re going to get it anyway.” She sat down on the sofa opposite her sister. “Fine, you can stay here for two days, and I know why you came here and didn’t go to mom and dad’s because they would kill you if they knew what you were doing, but after that, you need to go back to him and sort this out.”
“I think I agree with Nika on this one, you shouldn’t be giving motherly advice.”
Gretchen looked up to see Serena standing in the doorway. “You don’t get to say a word alright, because you’re next.”
“What the hell did I do?”
Gretchen narrowed her eyes at her daughter. “You know damn well what you did.”
“Everyone knows what you did.” Nika added.
Serena shook her head, stomped her foot on the floor and then spun around, storming out of the room.
Nika watched as Gretchen got up and started to follow her. “You’re not going to tell Mom and Dad about this are you?”
“No I’m not, but I think that you should.”
Sara placed Caleb into his crib and headed towards the door. She had put him down for a nap earlier, but that had only lasted for 30 minutes before he woke up screaming at the top of his longs. Now she had finally gotten him back to sleep, and hoped he would stay that for a little while longer.
Hearing a door slam at the other end of the hallway, she cringed when she thought that it would wake Caleb up.
A moment later, LJ appeared, his hands full of Liam’s toys.
“What are you doing?”
“Did you know that Paul is here?” He replied.
Sara started laughing. “I’m sorry, and he wants to what, play with Liam’s toys.”
LJ glanced back at her, a confused look on his face. “No, why would he do that? He’s in the kitchen, and I’m going take Liam outside for awhile.”
He continued walking towards the stairs but Sara stopped him. “Are you sure that everything is alright.”
“Please stop asking me that, I’m fine.” he replied. “If she doesn’t want to be here, then fine, I don’t need her.”
LJ pushed past Sara and disappeared down the stairs.
Sara just hoped that if Nika wasn’t there, if she wasn’t going to come back, that LJ would be able to do this on his own.
But it was something that she just wasn’t sure about.
One Week Later:
“You bought a house?”
Christopher walked across the kitchen towards the table where his son was sitting. Lincoln sat opposite him.
“Yeah Dad, we bought a house. That’s not a problem is it?”
“Well no.” He pulled the chair out and sat down. “Of course its not, but you never mentioned a word about it.”
“I wasn’t aware that I needed your permission to buy myself a house.” Stuart glanced over at Lincoln and winked, it didn’t take him more than a second to realize that he was purposely trying to wind his father up. “But had I known that I needed my Daddy there to sign the papers, I would have told you, oh wait, I didn’t.”
“You’re hilarious son.”
“Thanks. So are you coming over to see it today?”
Christopher lifted his coffee cup to his mouth. “Perhaps.” he finished his coffee and stood up from the table, placing his cup into the sink. “Please before you do anything else, say goodbye to your Grandmother, the last time you were here, you never did.”
“You left without saying goodbye to the grandmother?” Lincoln laughed. “Are you crazy?”
“Yeah I did do that, not on purpose.” He replied.
“No nothing you do is on purpose.” Christopher said. “Please see her before you go.”
“I heard you.” He leant across the table, resting his head on his arms. “Gees he treats me like I’m still 15.”
“And you speak like I’m not in the room.”
Stuart sat up again and glanced over his shoulder, grinning at his father.
“What time does your flight leave?”
“What are you trying to get rid of us or something?”
“No not at all, why would I do that? So when does it leave?”
“6:30pm. And yeah I think you’re trying to get rid of us.”
“So we should take Lore down to see Elizabeth, come back here, take your Dad up to the house, and then head to the airport.” Lincoln said.
Stuart nodded back at him. “Sounds like a plan, lets roll.”
Paul pushed open the door and walked inside, he saw LJ sitting on the floor with who he assumed was Liam, but when he got closer, he saw that the baby was a lot smaller and had dark hair and skin. Not the blond haired baby he was used to seeing LJ with. “Right, so what happened to your kid? You bring the wrong one back.”
LJ glanced up at him. “You’re funny. Liam is upstairs.”
“So you’re watching Caleb, does that mean that Sara isn’t here?”
“Sara isn’t here.”
“What about Michael, Gretchen even?” He wanted to know.
“I think Gretch is outside, Chris showed up earlier.”
Paul nodded, a smirk on his face. “Didn’t take her long did it.”
“Yeah I’d rather not think about it if its all the same.”
Paul walked around to the sofa and sat down. “So, you’re probably sick to death of people asking, but how’s it going with Nika?”
LJ looked up at him and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. She was here the other night, but its still weird.”
“So you’re not back together then?”
LJ shook his head. “No but who knows, I wasn’t the one who wanted to break up.”
“Yeah well I guess we’ve all got problems.”
LJ watched him as he stood up and moved into the other room, wondering what he meant.
Stuart rolled his eyes and leant back against the sofa. Elizabeth had mentioned something about a gift for Lorelei so she had disappeared up the hallway almost 20 minutes ago.
“You know I told her that Lore was too little for a pony.”
Lincoln turned to look at him and raised an eyebrow. “You’re not serious.”
“It was just a joke.” Stuart replied. “There’s not enough room back there for a pony.”
“Is she planning on being much longer, because at this rate, we’re not gonna catch our flight in time.” Lincoln pointed out.
“Yeah, I should go and check on her.”
He stood up and moved down the hallway, eventually finding his grandmother in the guest bedroom, she was shifting, attempting to anyway, several cartons.
“Grandma what the hell are you doing? You should have asked us to help you.”
She waved him of. “Please, I’m quite capable of handling this myself.”
“Sure you are, you’re only 80.”
She spun around to look at him, “Excuse me, what was that?”
Stuart grinned back at her. “I said nothing, you must be hearing things.” He moved across the room towards her. “What are you trying to find anyway?”
“Oh it was nothing important, I already have Lorelei’s gift, but the other thing can wait.”
“Well that’s great.” Stuart replied. “Grandma, if you don’t mind, we’re going to have to leave soon. Flight back to Chicago and all that.”
She threw her hands up in the air. “Of course it is, now I remember where I put it.”
He frustratingly followed her back to her room, where she pulled open a drawer of her dresser, and produced a small drawstring bag.
“What is that?”
“This is something that belonged to your grandfather.” She explained. “If I remember correctly, it was passed onto him by his mother.”
“Ok sure, that doesn’t really tell me what it is.” he pointed out. She handed him the bag, and he opened it. “Uh ok.” Finally realizing what she was doing, he glanced back up at her and rolled his eyes. “He told you didn’t he?”
“Yes he did, but it wasn’t intentional. I might be able to forgive you for not telling me.”
“Grandma, you really don’t have to give this to me.”
“Yes I do.”
“But it sounds important, coming from a long line of people I’m pretty sure I never met.” he laughed. “Besides, I’m not sure it means as much to me as it did to them.”
“It will. And regardless, I want you to have it, for him.”
He closed the bag again and slipped it into his pocket. He then stepped forward and embraced her.
Half an hour later, they were finally ready to leave, Stuart had managed to pry Lorelei away from Elizabeth and Lincoln had strapped her into the car seat.
Elizabeth stood up and motioned to Lincoln who did the same, and he shook his head with a smile when she hugged him.
“Thank you.” She whispered to him.
“I haven’t seen my grandson this happy in a very long time. Not even when he was with… She was going to say Chloe, but she still felt bad for him, that he lost her the way he did. “And I know that that is thanks to you. I’m glad that he met you Lincoln, and I’m glad to have as well.”
“You know, its gonna be nice to get back home.” Lincoln said.
“Yeah why’s that, Dallas wasn’t so bad.”
“No, it wasn’t.” he replied. Settling back in his seat he reached over, taking Stuart’s hand in his. “Just gonna be nice is all.”
“Yeah, well I hope so.” Stuart smiled at him.
“Right, I still remember, something about a surprise, I am actually going to find out what it is when we get home right?” Lincoln asked him.
Stuart nodded back at him. “Yeah, you definitely will.”
“And you’re really not going to tell me anything.” Lincoln asked again.
They had been in the air for almost an hour, and for most of that time, they had just been sitting in silence, a nice comfortable silence.
Stuart glanced over at him, but didn’t say anything, he just smiled softly, because it was all that he could do right now. His nerves were starting to get the better of him. He knew that once they were back in Cedar Rapids, he’d have to give Lincoln the gift, but what he didn’t have to do, was propose, he wasn’t sure that he could, not because he didn’t want to, he hadn’t suddenly changed his mind, but he was terrified.
They hadn’t really discussed this, not at all. Moving in together, agreeing to take on Lorelei, they had been things that were basically decided in minutes. He cursed under his breath that he had no clue as to what Lincoln thought about this, had he ever wanted to get married?
He shook his head to clear his thoughts. “Sorry, what was that?” he looked over and saw that Lorelei was awake, and her cries were getting steadily louder.
“How many horrible looks you think we’re gonna get?”
“Don’t know, not that I care. But we paid for first class, so I say let her cry her heart out.”
Lincoln shook his head and cradled Lorelei in his arms, it seemed to quiet her down, which he was thankful for.
Stuart wondered if he should mention anything about it, but if he did that, he took the risk that Lincoln would know what he was doing, and then it wouldn’t be a surprise, so he leant back in the seat again, and closed his eyes.
“Can you take her for a few minutes.”
Stuart opened his eyes again and looked over at Lorelei who was asleep again.
“Yeah sorry, I think you had actually fallen asleep.”
“About 20 minutes I guess, but I didn’t want to just leave her there.”
Stuart sat up and took the baby while Lincoln stood and disappeared down towards the bathroom.
He smiled down at his sleeping daughter, and felt a little better, there were still some nerves there, but he had decided that he was going to just ask, because he wouldn’t know unless he went through with it.
“I think it’s a little crooked.” Michael told him. He pointed to the left side where LJ was standing, but LJ simply shrugged his shoulders and stepped down of the chair.
Michael studied his nephew for a moment. “Where did you even get that from?”
A smile played at the corners of his mouth and folded his arms across his chest, turning to look at it. “Its pretty cool huh.”
“And you got it from?” Michael repeated.
“Yeah well like we could find anything like that in a store. Gretchen found it and printed it out.”
“Gretchen.” Michael laughed. He should have guessed that she would was the one behind this. “And you think its appropriate?”
LJ shrugged his shoulders again. “I dunno, but it is damn hilarious.”
“Well as long as its funny, I guess that is the main thing, right?”
LJ nodded back at his Uncle, “Yep, that’s how I see it.”
He pushed the chair back against the wall and quickly disappeared out of the room.
A few minutes later, because asking for a little piece and quiet was too much, the door swung open and Chris walked in. the blue overalls he wore were pulled down and tied around his waist, but he was covered in grease and dirt anyway.
“You’re not planning to sit are you?”
Chris shook his head. “No, already got the speech from Sara. Don’t really need to hear it again, but seeing as you’d be more interested, possibly. The bike is done.”
Chris nodded back at him. “Yeah its all done.”
He motioned towards the door and Michael got up and followed him.
“When are they getting back?” Chris wanted to know.
Michael glanced down at his watch. “Should be a few hours, Stuart called earlier and said they’d be back around 10pm.”
Chris nodded and pushed open the garage door. Michael was impressed, the bike had been partially done when Lincoln and Stuart were still there, but now that it was finished, it definitely looked like it cost more than $50,000.
“Its pretty nice huh.” Chris said. He leant down beside and pulled a rag out of his pocket and wiped at the seat. “He is going to like it, right.”
This time Michael nodded. “Yes he will, that is something that you really don’t need to worry about.” Michael moved around the bike, studying its detail. “Yeah, he’s really going to like it.”
LJ placed Liam onto the floor and went to sit down on the sofa, but the doorbell rang. Sighing heavily, he walked over and pulled it open.
“Uh, what are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry. I am so sorry for everything. I never should have reacted like that. I was wrong, and I want to come home.”
LJ drew in a deep breath and nodded slightly. Holding the door open, he let her inside.
She walked over to the mat and sat down beside Liam, she reached out, taking his tiny hand in hers and he looked up at her. “I missed you baby.”
“Nika, we need to talk about this.”
She inhaled a sharp breath and glanced up at him. “I know that we do.”
“Ok, so how did this happen?”
Stuart glanced down at the pile of bags, when they had arrived in Dallas, they had enough that the could carry them, but for some reason, they had to grab another trolley.
“Do you want to call Mikey and have him come pick us up?”
Lincoln piled the last bag onto the trolley and glanced over his shoulder to see what Stuart was doing, he was carrying Lorelei in the car seat. “No we’ll be fine, I think.”
He pushed the trolley over to a cab that was waiting nearby and started loading the bags into the trunk.
“You know they’re probably going to be in bed when we get home.”
Stuart raised an eyebrow at him. “I’m sure that’s true. You know that they’re probably going to attack us at the door.”
“Yeah well how about you go first then?” he replied with a smile.
“Probably for the best that way.” Stuart answered. He climbed into the cab after Lincoln and pulled the door closed.
“LJ, I want to come home.” Nika stood up and sat on the sofa. “I know that I probably don’t deserve to, but…”
“You should be here.” He replied. He sat down on the arm of the sofa and glanced down at the floor where their son was playing.
“I don’t really have a reason or excuse.” She said. “I wasn’t thinking and I’m sorry.”
“Just forget that this has anything to do with me Nika, you walked out on our son, how could you do that?” he wanted to know.
“I’m sorry, but I really don’t know what to say.” She answered. “I was just so tired, and I couldn’t breathe.”
“You couldn’t breathe?” he repeated. “What does that even mean?”
“It all just happened so fast, getting pregnant, having Liam, moving to Ames. I guess that I panicked that I wasn’t handling it. I wasn’t. I did it all wrong LJ.” She turned in the seat, and took his hands in hers. “LJ I really am sorry, and I need you to forgive me, please, I need to make this right.”
“Sara, what are you doing?”
Michael walked out from the bathroom and over to the dresser, producing a t-shirt from the top drawer.
“Sorry, what was that?”
He pulled the t-shirt on and walked over to her. “What are you doing?”
“I wasn’t doing anything.”
“You don’t think its at all weird that you’re standing at the window, waiting for them to get home?” He laughed.
“I’m not doing that.” She turned to look at him and rolled her eyes. “Well ok sure, but I’m just…”
“Excited.” He replied. “I know. But you’ll know precisely when Stuart shows him the bike, because he’s going to want to start it, and wake the whole damn neighborhood up.”
“Well I guess that that is a problem, but its only once right? Ok its bad.” She moved away from the window and sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Was that a car?”
Sara threw herself of off the bed and back to the window, but as he pulled the curtain back, she turned to look at Michael who stood there chuckling to himself. “Do you feel proud of yourself?”
“Just a little bit.”
A moment later, there was a knock on the door, and Michael answered it. “LJ, is everything alright?”
“Yeah, actually its pretty good, but Dad just called, they said they’d be here in about 10 minutes.”
Michael couldn’t help but notice the smile on his nephew’s face. He folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow at him. “What’s going on with you?”
“What are you talking about, nothing is going on.” But he did nothing to convince his Uncle.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t believe a word of that.”
“I didn’t hear you sorry, are you coming downstairs?”
LJ quickly disappeared down the hall, and Michael shook his head.
“Sara, they’re going to be here in a few minutes, or would you just prefer to stand at the window.”
She smiled back at him and followed him downstairs.
They were both surprised when they saw Nika sitting on the sofa, she was holding Liam who was asleep.
But at least it made sense to Michael why LJ was acting like he was.
“Nika, its good to have you back.”
She glanced over her shoulder to where they stood. “Thanks, its good to be back. And now I think that I’m going to take Liam up to bed, its getting late.”
“Are you sure, because Linc and Stuart will be back in a minute.”
As she walked past, LJ leant over and kissed Liam on the cheek, he then waited until Nika had gone upstairs before he turned to face the other two.
“Well its just that no one said a word.” Sara pointed out. “Including you.”
“It only just happened.” he answered. He sat back down on the sofa. Sara sitting beside him. “But its good, I’m glad that she’s here.”
“Its very good.”
“What’s very good?”
They all turned around to see Lincoln standing in the doorway.
Sara leapt up of the sofa and threw herself at Lincoln.
“its good to see you too, and don’t think I don’t appreciate the welcome, but uh, why?”
“What do you mean why? You don’t really need to ask that do you?”
He shrugged his shoulders and grinned back at her. “No, I don’t have to ask.”
“So where’s Stu?” LJ asked.
“He’s unloading the cab, will probably take awhile.” he replied. “So, what’s very good?”
“Nika’s back, we’re sorting things out.”
“Good I’m glad.”
“I’m sorry, but where’s the baby.”
Lincoln leant down and picked up the car seat, handing Lorelei over to Sara. “I figured that that was why you were really happy to see me.”
She took Lorelei and sat back down on the sofa. Michael motioned at LJ and the two went outside to help Stuart.
“its good to have you back Stu.”
“Yeah well you have no idea how glad I am to be back.”
Michael grabbed one of the bags from the trunk. “We can take care of this, cos you have something else to do.”
Stuart looked up at him. “Yeah, I was thinking that it wouldn’t be done until tomorrow.”
Michael took the bag from him and motioned towards the house. “No, he finished it today.”
“You sure that you don’t mind?”
Michael shook his head. “No, not at all, we’ve got it.”
Stuart drew in a deep breath and nodded. “Ok, well it has been a damn long time, feels that way at least.”
He made his way into the house, didn’t say a word to Lincoln, just grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the kitchen.
“What the hell are you doing?” Lincoln wanted to know. “Where are we going?”
“Just follow me. Not so difficult right.”
They made their way outside and stood outside of the garage door.
“Ok, really, what’s going on?” He wanted to know. He glanced around the yard, wondering what was happening.
“it’s a surprise. You know the one you’ve been so desperately wanting to know about for the past few weeks.”
“Oh my god, you mean to tell me that I’m actually going to find out what it is. I’m shocked.” he grinned at his boyfriend.
“Yeah, that’s a good one.” Stuart laughed. He leant forward and grabbed the band of Lincoln’s jeans and pulled him forward, they stumbled against the door and Lincoln brought his hands up, resting them on Stuart’s waist, he leant forward, capturing Stuart’s mouth with his.
“Just for the record, this isn’t the surprise.” Stuart grinned against Lincoln’s mouth. He reached behind him and grabbed the handle. “In here.”
“In here you say?”
Stuart pushed him away and turned around, walking into the garage. He had just a second to glance at the bike before Lincoln stepped up to him.
“So, there it is, that’s the surprise.”
“You are fucking well kidding me.”
Stuart turned to look at him, studying him for a moment, he really couldn’t tell if Lincoln meant that as a good, or bad thing. “Linc, Linc.”
To Be Continued….
Michael placed the last bag down by the stairs then walked around the sofa, sitting down beside Sara, he reached out, taking Lorelei’s tiny hand in his and she turned her head to look at him.
“You know its going to be nice having all the kids back in the house.” Sara said.
“Well to be fair, now that LJ and Nika seemed to have worked things out, I’m sure he’ll be going back to school soon.” Michael pointed out.
“Its still the same.” She replied. She settled back against the sofa cushions and cradled Lorelei in her arms. “Its just nice having them back, all of them.”
“I know what you mean.” He answered. He glanced over at the baby monitor that sat on the coffee table and heard Caleb crying. He leant over, kissed Sara on the cheek and then stood up.
“He probably just needs changing.”
“I’ve got it.” he told her.
Stuart folded his arms across his chest, but a moment later he dropped them to his sides. He was watching Lincoln inspect the bike, and he still wasn’t sure what his boyfriend thought of it, because Lincoln hadn’t said a word.
“Uh Linc, are you going to say anything, at all?” He stepped a little closer. “Cos kinda nervous here.”
Lincoln glanced up at him. “Are you serious?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Not usually, but there’s some serious there right now, yeah.”
Lincoln stood up and moved towards him. “No, I’m serious, are you?”
“This is the gift Lincoln, so yeah its pretty damn serious. But if you don’t like it, well then….”
“Don’t you dare.” Lincoln replied, shaking his head. “I’m just in a bit of, shock right now. You really got this for me?”
A smile played across his lips, and he nodded back at him. “Yeah, I really did.”
“You’re amazing you know that.” He placed his hand on Stuart’s arm.
“So I take it you like it then?”
“Are you kidding me, this is definitely in the top five greatest things ever.”
“Top five huh?” Stuart laughed.
“Well yeah, there is a bit of a list there now, kinda goes with you, LJ, Lorelei and now this.”
“Ok, so what’s the fifth thing?” Stuart asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
Lincoln started to smile and dropped his hand. “Was kinda thinking this.” He leant forward, capturing Stuart’s mouth his own. His hands running down the other man’s chest and stomach until his palm was pressing against his crotch.
“God damn it Linc.” Stuart moaned against his mouth.
“Yeah, you’re gonna argue with it now? Top five right.”
Stuart shook his head. “No, can’t argue with that, and yeah, to uh top five, uh huh.”
Lincoln smiled back at him, kissed him once and turned back to the bike.
“So that’s what you leave me with?” Stuart grinned at him.
Lincoln looked back at him and shook his head. “Yeah, that’s all you’re getting.” He took a few steps back, and Stuart nodded once, before moving towards him.
Lincoln reached out and grabbed his hand, pulling him closer, he pushed him against the bike, and kneeling down on the floor, his fingers grasping at the zip, he pulled the offending fabric away, but at the same time, he quickly glanced at the door.
“You think we’re safe?”
Stuart nodded back at him, his breath catching in his throat. “Oh yeah, I don’t think we… have to worry about that.”
Lincoln didn’t answer, with his hand gripping Stuart’s side, he took him in his mouth, and was decidedly pleased when Stuart moaned, his fingers running over Lincoln’s cropped hair.
Michael made his way back into the living room, and sitting down on the sofa, his eyes caught the banner that LJ had hung across the room.
“They didn’t even see it did they?” He laughed.
Sara turned in her seat to look at it and smiled. “No, they didn’t have time to see it, but I’m sure that they will, and I‘m sure they will find it hilarious.”
Michael shook his head, still smiling. “So that was Gretchen’s idea right, because I‘m slightly disturbed.?”
Sara nodded back at him. “Something like that, and yes that pretty much goes without saying.”
“So, why are we friends with her again?”
Sara glanced up at him, she didn’t say anything, she just smiled.
“No really have you seen that banner? Because where on earth did they get it from?” Michael questioned her. “I know Gretchen gives them hell occasionally, but that right there, is just…”
“Michael.” She laughed. “I don’t imagine that it will be up there for long, not when Linc sees it.”
“When he sees what?”
Michael glanced up to see LJ standing at the bottom of the stairs.
“its cool huh.”
Michael raised an eyebrow at him. “Well if you say so.”
“I do.” He pointed to the banner. “Guy + Guy, and you like the little motorbike there.”
“I’m a little worried about you right now LJ.”
LJ just smiled back at him.
“So, you think that we should get back inside?” Stuart asked as he zipped his jeans back up.
“You really want to?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I wouldn’t mind staying out here, but they’re still inside and all.”
Lincoln took another look at the bike and then grabbed Stuart’s hand, pulling him towards the door.
When they were back in the living room, they saw Michael and Sara sitting on the sofa, LJ at the bottom of the stairs.
“So.” LJ asked.
“Yeah, like you didn’t already know.” Lincoln answered.
LJ nodded back at him. “Yeah I did. Its fucking awesome aye?”
“That it is.”
“Oh my fucking god.” Stuart cried out.
Michael and LJ started laughing, while Lincoln stood there wondering what the hell was going on, then Stuart grabbed his arm and spun him around.
“Oh yeah, you’re fucking hilarious.” Lincoln said.
“I thought it was pretty damn funny and funny that you didn’t notice it before. Its cool right.”
“Guy + Guy + Motorbike = Sex.” Stuart said, seeing the funny side, he started to laugh. “Let me guess, Gretch had something to do with this?”
“Well you have met her before, so yeah.”
Lincoln glanced over at his son, “You’re damaged, you know that right.”
“I do know that, and I blame it on you.” He grinned back.
“OK, and with that, I think we’re going to call it a night.” Lincoln replied.
“Uh, what about Lore?” Stuart asked.
“Don’t worry about her, we’ve got it.” Sara told them. “Really, its fine.”
“Well I did almost lose an arm with you trying to get to her.” Lincoln said, and Sara rolled her eyes at him. “Thanks.”
Stuart was decidedly pleased about that, that Sara was going to take care of Lorelei, maybe tonight he would actually go through with it and ask, no time like the present and all that.
Stuart sat on the end of the bed and watched as Lincoln came out of the bathroom, he couldn’t help but stare at the other man with the towel slung low on his hips, and how completely oblivious he was to Stuart’s staring.
He placed his elbows on his knees and leant forward. He watched as Lincoln walked over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of boxers, dropping the towel on the floor, he put the shorts on and turned around, facing Stuart.
“Uh, you alright there?”
Lincoln took a few steps closer and folded his arms across his chest, and studied his boyfriend. “Stu, what the hell?”
Stuart looked up at him. “Sorry, what did you say?”
“I said, are you alright there, and then what the hell?”
“Yeah, sorry. I was just thinking.”
Lincoln walked over and sat down on the bed, leaning back, he folded his arm under his head. “Yeah, and what exactly are you thinking about?”
“Uh well, actually…” He could have asked it right then and there, it was the perfect opportunity, but he was freaking out again and couldn’t find the words.
“Sure, that explains it all.” Lincoln laughed.
Stuart smiled, but still didn’t say anything else.
They sat in silence for several minutes, and then he looked over at him, Lincoln lay there with his eyes closed, and Stuart was convinced that he had fallen asleep.
Maybe this wasn’t the night for it after all.
“Ok, what is going on with you?”
Stuart jumped at the sound of Lincoln’s voice. “Uh, its nothing, I was just thinking.”
“We’ve already covered this part, haven’t we?” He sat up, and slung his arm around Stuart’s waist and kissed the back of his neck. “So, what’s it about again?”
Stuart leant back against him, but wasn’t expecting Lincoln to push him back against the mattress and straddle him, he placed his hands on his shoulders, preventing him from getting up.
“So, you’re gonna make me guess?”
Stuart grinned back at him. “Maybe I should.”
“OK, I can do that.” he sat up a little straighter, placing both hands on Stuart’s hips above where his jeans sat. “I can already guess that that wasn’t enough for you out in the garage.”
“Really you think so?” he laughed.
Lincoln placed his hand over the man’s crotch. “Yeah, I feel so.”
Stuart shifted slightly, placing his hands on Lincoln’s legs. “Ok, is that all you’ve got?”
Lincoln shook his head. “Not even close. I can guess that you’re been acting weird for at least a day. In the way that you usually do when you’re either up to something, or have already done something.”
“Maybe you know me a little too well.”
“Right, so which one is it? You’re doing something, or have already done something?” Lincoln questioned him.
Stuart smiled again. “Well actually, a little of both.”
Lincoln studied him for a moment, wondering what the hell he was talking about.
“Look, there is something, its just not so easy to talk about.” Stuart said after several minutes.
“Well can you at least give me a hint, is it a good thing, or a bad thing?” Lincoln wanted to know. His fingers found the zipper of Stuart’s jeans. “You know I think I have some pretty good ways of making you talk.”
“Ok, that really wasn’t at all what I was expecting.” Lincoln said.
Stuart pointed towards the door, and Lincoln turned around to see her standing there.
“Oh brilliant. What the hell do you want?” He pushed himself of the bed and stood there with his arms folded across his chest.
“Yeah, not really sorry about the interrupting, but I need to borrow your boyfriend there, just for a little while, I promise.”
Stuart groaned heavily and stood up. “You really need help right now, right now?”
Gretchen nodded back at him. “Yes I do.”
“Yeah I’d go with that too, she really does need help.” Lincoln muttered.
“Oh was I really interrupting something important?” She smirked at him. “Aww were you gonna make out.”
“Yes, because we’re twelve.” Lincoln shot back. “You have the worst damn timing.”
“I know right.” She turned around and headed back down the hall towards the stairs.
Stuart muttered something under his breath and walked towards the door. “You mentioned something about her bad timing.”
“Yeah well what can you do?” He replied. “I know, ignoring her sounds pretty good right about now.”
“If we ever want her to go away, I should probably see what the hell she wants. I expect you to still be sitting there when I get back.”
He disappeared out into the hall, and Lincoln sighed heavily, sitting back down on the bed.
“Really, you really needed me right now.” He asked again when they were sitting at the kitchen table.
She pushed the lap top across the table and he turned it around to see the screen.
“Right, so what am I looking at?”
“I need you to tell me that I’m not seeing, what I think I’m seeing.”
He looked up at her, raised an eyebrow and then turned back to the screen.
Several minutes later, he cursed under his breath and kicked at the table leg. “Shit, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Yes, this is all a big joke, ha ha.” Gretchen replied.
Stuart looked back at the screen again. “Ok well yeah, its him. Oh and what do we have here, looks like your boyfriend is up to no good.”
Gretchen rolled her eyes. “Chris is hardly my boyfriend. Besides, we have no idea what’s going on.”
“Well its James Whistler, so we know its nothing good, but why is he with your boyfriend?” Stuart wanted to know.
They spent the next half an hour going over the video footage that Gretchen had acquired.
Having come to no helpful conclusion, Stuart pushed his chair back and headed for the stairs.
“If I don’t get laid tonight, its your damn fault.”
“Thank you so much for that disturbing mental picture.”
“Well let that be a lesson to you.” He smirked back at her. “Maybe you’ll think twice before annoying me again.”
He made his way back up to the bedroom, pushed the door open and saw Lincoln lying on the bed, this time he knew that the other man was asleep, and he cursed under his breath.
He moved across the room and pulled his shirt of, dumping it onto the chair, he kicked his shoes of, removing his jeans.
Glancing at Lincoln as he walked past towards the bathroom, he couldn’t help but smile.
Turning on the shower, he stepped in, letting the water wash over his body.
He closed his eyes and was so busy focusing on the thought of just a few minutes peace and quiet he literally jumped when he felt a hand brush against his waist.
“Wow, if I had known you were that jumpy, would have done that more often.”
Lincoln stood next to the shower door, his arms folded across his chest.
“Seriously, was that necessary, I thought that you were asleep.”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “Not asleep, just closing my eyes, why?”
Stuart turned to face him. “You’re really asking that?”
“Thought that I would throw it in there.” He replied. “You got a problem with that?”
He pushed the door further back and stepped into the shower, and Stuart laughed.
“So you always shower with your clothes on?”
“Only when there are other men in the room.” he grinned back.
Stuart stepped forward, snaking his arms around Lincoln’s waist, and hooking his fingers under the elastic of his boxers.
Lincoln leant forward, pressing his mouth to the other mans, his hands pressing against the tile behind him.
When Stuart broke the kiss, he leant his head back against the shower wall. “Linc.”
“Yeah?” He replied before running his tongue along his boyfriends collarbone.
“I love you.”
“I know, and I love you too.”
Stuart nodded slightly. “Yeah. Linc.”
Lincoln leant back, his hands still pressed against the tile, and he looked up at him. “Stuart.”
Lincoln stood there, his jaw dropped at Stuart’s last, comment, statement…his proposal.
“Lincoln, did you hear me?”
“I uh, yeah I heard you.” he drew in a deep breath and looked back at him. “Stuart, can you ah, can you ask me that again.”
This time Stuart inhaled a sharp breath, he had been so nervous the entire time, and the words seemed to just fall out, and now Lincoln wanted him to say it again, shit it was bad enough the first time.
“I want you to marry me.”
To Be Continued….
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
Lincoln stood there, he was still in shock over what Stuart had asked him. He heard the words, let them rattle around his brain for a moment, trying to process and then he looked back up at him.
“Stuart, are you damn well serious?”
“Yeah, I think I’ve said it before, not usually, but that was a serious moment. I uh, I want you to marry me.” He replied.
“And you’re serious.”
“Didn’t we just cover that part?”
Lincoln shook his head and took a step back. “Yeah, I uh, guess that we did, I’m just…”
Stuart leant across to turn the water of, but Lincoln grabbed his arm to stop him.
“Can you just wait a minute.”
“Look, you’ve barely said anything Linc, I think that makes it pretty obvious, and seeing as I feel like a fucking idiot right now.” Stuart shot back.
Lincoln looked up at him. “What the hell, all I did was ask for a minute to process this.”
“You need to think about it, couldn’t you have just said that before, but the way I’m hearing it, you’re just using the time to think of a way to say no.” He tried to push past Lincoln again, but Lincoln wouldn’t let him go. “You know what I shouldn’t have even asked.”
“Can you damn well hear yourself right now?”
“Lincoln, I didn’t think it was a question you had to think about, its either yes or no.” He pointed out. “Now can you please get out of my way.”
“No, I won’t get out of the way, and also are you done yet?” Lincoln grabbed his wrist. “Can you listen to me for a minute?”
Michael walked into the bedroom, pushing the door shut behind him. He wasn’t so surprised to see Sara sitting on the bed, the more surprising part was the two infants lying on the mattress.
He couldn’t help the smile that played at the corners of his mouth as she leant over, pressing kisses to the their sons hand, babbling to both children in baby talk. She sat up and Caleb waved his arms in the air, while Lorelei looked thoroughly unimpressed.
“Do you think that she may have spent a little too much time with Lincoln and Stuart?” Michael said with a chuckle.
She glanced up at him and smiled back. “Well I would have guessed that baby talk is all she’s heard.”
Michael shook his head, biting his lip to avoid answering, because what he really wanted to do was laugh.
“Perhaps Christopher retrained her.” She glanced back up at him. “Its unfortunate that his work will be undone in about 2 days.”
Michael walked across the room and sat down, he reached across, taking his son’s hand in his, and the 7 month old tilted his head to look at his father. He leant down, kissing his son on the cheek.
“So how long do you think they’ll keep us awake for?”
She fell back against the pillows and sighed contentedly. “You know what, I don’t mind the lack of sleep, because they’re just too gorgeous, I can’t help but stare at them.”
“Is that an I want another baby look?” he questioned her.
She shook her head laughing again. “No, I’m fine on that front right now, believe me, but its just given how crappy things can get for us and at the worst of times…”
“I think I get where you’re going with this.”
“Lack of sleep, isn’t something to really complain about.”
“No, its really not.” He replied.
When Michael stood up and moved away from the bed, Lorelei started crying, and wouldn’t stop.
“Uh Michael, for the love of god, please sit down.”
He couldn’t help but laugh again. “What happened to the not complaining.”
“Well there is a difference between not complaining about lack of sleep, and having to listen to that, the two really don‘t mix.” She reached over and picked up the crying infant.
Michael sat down again and Sara passed Lorelei over to him, and she instantly fell silent.
“So it looks like you’re in charge of Lorelei, seeing as she won’t cry when you have her.”
Michael glanced down at her, she was almost asleep. “You know, I think that you conspired with your Aunt, you’re doing this on purpose aren’t you.”
Lincoln pulled open the refrigerator door, producing a bottle of orange juice. When he closed the door he was surprised to see LJ standing there, his arms folded across his chest, glaring at him.
“What the hell do you want?”
“What happened?” He wanted to know.
“OK, did you bump your head on the way down here or something? Cos I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He answered.
Lincoln moved over to the counter and placed the bottle down, LJ could see that he was grinning from ear to ear.
“Yeah, that right there, so what happened.”
Lincoln turned around, but didn’t say anything.
“Dad, you know that I will find out eventually.” LJ pointed out. “You know that right.”
“Yeah I still don’t know what you’re talking about.” Lincoln answered.
“Who doesn’t know?”
Michael appeared in the kitchen doorway.
“Oh, its Lincoln who doesn’t know anything. Am I supposed to be surprised by this?”
“You’re fucking hilarious you know that.”
“So what did I miss?” Michael asked. “Anything important?”
LJ moved around the counter and sat down. “Well as it turns out, something happened with Dad.”
Michael sat down next to his nephew and poured himself a cup of coffee.
“But, he won’t say what it is.”
“What the hell makes you think that something happened?” Lincoln asked them.
“Because you’ve been up for 3 hours, and every time I’ve seen you, you haven’t stopped smiling. My guess its not just about the bike.” LJ pointed out. He banged his fist down onto the counter. “So spill the beans.”
Lincoln looked over at him and raised an eyebrow. “You’re insane.”
“No I’m not. So spill the beans, I’ll just go and ask Stuart, and we all know that he can’t keep a secret.”
Lincoln narrowed his eyes at his son. “I hate you sometimes.”
LJ grinned back at him, and Michael shook his head, this was his family and he was so proud of them.
“Ok, so what do you have to say?” Michael questioned him.
Lincoln didn’t really want to tell them, but he knew that they would find out eventually, they always did.
“Fine, if it will shut you up.”
“What do you have to say?” Stuart asked.
“I just needed a minute there, not to think of the answer, because I already know what it is, but it was still a shock ok. Its not everyday that someone asks you to marry them.”
“OK.” Stuart replied still not knowing what Lincoln was getting at.
“I guess that I’ve never really thought about it before, but it turns out that you have…”
“Yeah, I’ve thought about it, you know seeing as I just asked you to marry me, and you still hav….”
Lincoln pushed himself forward, his hands pressing against the tile, his mouth capturing Stuart’s.
When Stuart broke the kiss, he leant his head back against the wall. “OK, just so we’re clear, is that, you know I’m not actually sure.”
“It’s yeah, I will, did you really think that I was going to say no?” He looked up at him and smiled. “I mean really.”
Stuart shook his head. “You’re a bastard you know that.”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders, still smiling at him. He stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel.
“Where the hell are you going?” Stuart called after him. He turned the shower of and grabbed his own towel, following his boyfriend, or should he make that his fiancé out into the bedroom.
“Linc, there’s uh, something else as well.”
“Oh my god, you’re pregnant.” Lincoln laughed.
“Yes, that’s why I asked you to marry me.” He walked across to the dresser and pulled open the top drawer, producing the small bag that Elizabeth had given him. He turned back to Lincoln who was sitting on the edge of the bed.
He opened the bag and pulled out the contents. “Ok, forgive me if I’m about to sound like a.. well a woman. But Elizabeth gave this to me, to give to you. It belonged to my mom, and from what Elizabeth says, its supposed to be…”
“An engagement ring.” Lincoln said.
“Yeah, and from the look on your face, you’re expecting it to be something meant for a woman.” Stuart laughed.
“Well yeah, you’re giving me that impression.”
Stuart took a step forward and held the ring out for Lincoln to see.
“Ok, not at all what I was expecting. It looks, old.”
Stuart sat down next to him. “Yeah, it pretty much is. Been in the family forever. Its Irish, my mother is, was Irish.”
“You mentioned that.”
“I’m not actually sure if I’m meant to give it to you now or when we get married, not sure how it works. But uh, the ring, the heart means love, the hands friendship and the crown is loyalty. Its something along the lines if the ring is worn on the left hand ring finger, pointing outward from the body, it means you’re engaged, if its pointing inward means you’re married. I might have to look this stuff up.” He explained.
“You do that, but uh, can I at least have the ring now.” He laughed. “Seeing as you asked and I said yes.”
Lincoln held his hand out and Stuart placed the ring into his palm, closing his hand over his.
He then leant forward and pressed his lips to Lincoln’s, his free hand pressing against his chest, pushing him down onto the bed.
“So, you need to guess what I’m gonna say next?”
Lincoln shook his head. “Nah, that one doesn’t need to be spelt out.”
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
Lincoln pushed open the door and stepped out into the room. LJ looked over at him and shook his head. “Oh my god, you can not be serious. You can’t wear that to a wedding.”
“What are you talking about? Of course I can wear this, its completely appropriate.” He grinned back at his son.
“I think that I’m going to have to with LJ on this one. You can not wear that.” Michael added.
“Of course I can.”
The other door swung open and Sara walked in. Her hand immediately covering her mouth. “Oh for goodness sake. I know that this is an outdoor wedding, but you can not be serious.”
“See I told you.” LJ laughed.
Lincoln spun around to look at her. “I’m starting to get the distinct impression that you don’t like my outfit.”
LJ began laughing again. “Yeah, I think that you’d be right about that.”
“Where’s Stu?” Lincoln asked, changing the subject.
“He’s in the living room. He said something about calling the photographer.” Sara replied, she folded her arms across her chest and leant back against the door.
Michael walked over and slipped his arm around her waist. “Sara, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.”
“Are you kidding me?” She shot back. “There is 9 days until the wedding, and there is still a million things to be done. I don’t think everything will be ready in time.” She glanced up at him. “How are you so calm about this.”
“A lot of practice.”
“You calm.” Lincoln smirked at him. “I don’t think so, any second now I’m expecting to find you to be comatose on the floor.”
“How would you like to walk to the wedding.” Michael retorted.
“You know that Gretchen and Jess said that they would help.” LJ told her.
“I know, and they are, but there’s only so much that they can do.”
“Well just think of it this way, at least in 9 days time you won’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Sara turned to look at Lincoln again. “Thank you so much, that really helps. Oh wait, no it doesn’t. Besides, if you want something done right, its just better to do it yourself.”
“Wow, that was a little harsh Sara.” Lincoln laughed.
“But it wasn’t wrong.” She answered. “Linc, please promise me that you won’t wear that.”
“I’m not going to wear this, but sure was a riot to see your faces.”
“Be proud of yourself right now.” She shot back. She pushed herself away from the door and disappeared back out into the living room.
“You think I should maybe say something?” Lincoln asked after awhile.
Michael shook his head. “I wouldn’t if I were you, probably better to just stay away.”
Michael and LJ looked over at him.
“What is it now?”
“Do you think it would be bad timing to tell her I haven’t gotten the car to Prairie Lakes yet.”
Both of them stared back at Lincoln, said nothing more and then left the room.
When Michael pushed open the kitchen door he saw Sara standing at the end of the counter, she was on the phone, and looked far from pleased. He waited several minutes, wanting to talk to her, but as the call continued, he made his way out to the living room where he found Stuart sitting on the sofa, he had the lap top open in front of him, and kept bashing the keys.
“is everything alright?” Michael asked.
Stuart glanced up at him, a furious look on his face. “Would it be wrong if I threw this piece of shit across the room?”
“Its that bad huh?” He replied. “It must be something about today.”
“Why’s that?” Stuart asked. He placed the lap top down onto the coffee table and looked back up at Michael.
“Sara is, well I don’t want to say freaking out…”
“But if the word fits.”
Michael walked over and sat down next to him. He picked up the lap top. “What happened?”
“You mean aside from the fact that it hates me.”
Michael looked up at him and raised an eyebrow. “Well, if you say so.”
“I don’t know it stopped working about 10 minutes ago, as in froze the fuck up and won’t even turn of.”
He reached across and took it from Michael, slammed the lid shut and smashed it on the corner of the coffee table. Michael jumped back in shock as the lap top cracked and Stuart dropped it to the floor.
“Wow, that feels much better.”
Michael at there staring at him. “What the hell is wrong with you. Also can I suggest that you never make a career change to wedding planner.”
Stuart looked over at him and shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah well, I’ll just be glad when its over.”
“Turns out you’re not the only one.” Michael answered.
“Yeah, not getting that at all, how the hell are you so calm about all of this?” He wanted to know. “You know its funny, 4 months ago when I asked Linc to marry me, never would have guessed that it would be such a bitch to plan the actual getting married part. How much did you freak out when you asked Sara?”
“A lot, but that was a long time ago now.”
“Why exactly did you wait so long to get married?” He asked.
“There really wasn’t a reason, but then she got pregnant with Caleb, and we ended up putting it of.”
“9 days and counting.” He answered.
“Still not getting that.” Stuart said. “You’re getting married in 9 days and you’re the calmest one, it doesn’t make sense.”
“I guess I’ve waited so long to get to this point, I’ve always known that its going to happen.” He replied.
He leant back against the cushions. “Even through all the crap, you always knew.”
Michael looked over at him. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve feared it more than anything, that something would happen, and I wouldn’t get this far…”
“But some things, not even they could get to.” Stuart added.
“No they haven’t. And yes even though it worked out, can I suggest something. Don’t wait as long as we did.”
“Just in case right.” Stuart said. “Yeah, I’ve thought about that as well.” He reached across and patted Michael on the back. “So 9 days, no really how long is it going to be before you’re comatose on the floor.”
Michael tilted his head to look at him. “You and Linc really have been around each other too long, you know that right.”
“Yeah well….” he didn’t get to finish what he was saying, because Sara burst into the room, she looked overjoyed, a stark difference to how she looked the last time Michael saw her.
“What’s going on?” Michael asked. “You seem, pleased.”
“I am, I just got of the phone with Jessica, they’ll be here in two days by the way.”
“Ok, and that’s why you’re so happy.”
She shook her head. “No, I probably shouldn’t say anything, I know that they’ll want to, but…”
“Sara.” Michael laughed. “What is it?”
“Jessica’s pregnant. She found out 3 days ago and she’s about 10 weeks.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes I’m serious.”
Stuart looked from Sara to Michael. “Uh oh, she’s got that look.”
Sara folded her arms across her chest and glared at Stuart. “And what look would that be?”
“You know, the I want another baby look.”
“One thing at a time alright. I have enough to deal with as it is.“ She rolled her eyes at him and walked across, sitting down next to Michael.
“That’s great, I’m really happy for them.” Michael told her.
She smiled back at him. “Also, I just spoke to Dad, and he’ll be here about 3 days before the wedding, he said that he’s still trying to organize Caleb’s birthday present.”
“You know a one year old, really doesn’t need a pony.” Stuart laughed.
Sara and Michael both looked over at him.
“You want to talk about elaborate gifts.” Sara stared at him. “Like the thousands of dollars you spent on Lore’s 1st birthday. A birthday that she won’t even remember.”
“Yeah, but we’ll remember it.” he said. “That’s the point. And even if he doesn’t remember his first birthday, at least for the rest of his life he’ll know that you guys got married on his 1st birthday. And if you ask me, not really a better birthday present than that right.”
Sara leant back against the cushions, and Michael slipped his arm across her shoulders.
“Ok, so I was thinking, that tonight we forget about wedding plans, and you let me take you out to dinner.”
She looked up at him and smiled. “Ok fine. Just tonight though.”
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
Sara stood at the end of the driveway, every so often she would glance over her shoulder at the house. They had rented it for the two weeks they would be in Cedar Falls, the location they had chosen for the wedding. The 6 bedroom home was enough to accommodate all but Aldo and Frank, but she assumed that they would prefer to stay in a hotel and she couldn’t blame them.
She began pacing back and forth, one moment her arms folded across her chest, the next she held them at her sides.
Nervous about seeing Jessica after learning that her sister in law was pregnant, she was also very excited for them.
She heard the front door swing open against the side of the house and heard LJ calling out to her a moment later.
“Should be hear in a few minutes.” She called back. He answered her, but she couldn’t make out the words and when she spun around she saw Caleb tottering across the yard towards her, he fell to his knees and decided that it would be quicker and easier to crawl.
She stepped forward and leant down, picking him up, he squealed when she held him. “What are you doing out here?”
He squealed again and waved his arms in the air, apparently he wanted to be put down again.
She placed him onto the grass and watched him as his fingers tried to latch onto a handful of grass, but a moment later he became more fascinated with a stone and Sara quickly lunged forward grabbing it of off him.
“You can’t eat that baby.” She threw the stone down towards the fence.
“Good thing you throw like a girl.”
Sara spun around and saw Paul standing at the gate, their car was parked on the street and she smiled back at him. “Any trouble finding the place?”
He shook his head. “Not really, but if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, they’re a liar.”
Sara smiled again, leant down, picked Caleb up and walked towards Paul. “Where is Jess?”
“Ok, please don’t kill me, but she’s going to be here in a couple of hours.”
“What are you talking about?” She replied.
“She’s coming up with Gretchen, Chris and Serena.” He told her.
Sara took a few more steps forward. “And why is she doing that, why didn’t she say anything when I spoke to her.”
“Well seeing as you already know, judging by the look on your face and how you almost lunged at me when I said that she wasn’t here, she had a Doctor’s appointment this morning.”
“Is everything alright?” She wanted to know.
He held his hand up. “Yes, everything is fine, just a regular appointment, so you can stop freaking out.”
He walked over to her, took Caleb and headed towards the house. “Oh while you’re there, the bags are still in the car.”
Sara shook her head and followed him back up to the house.
“Well can’t say I’m shocked at this.” Lincoln said as he walked across the kitchen. He pulled out a chair and sat down, looking up at his brother, he flashed a grin, and Michael glared back at him.
“Do you mind.”
“No, not at all.” Lincoln laughed. “So what happened to the cool calm demeanor you were sporting just two days ago.”
“I suppose you think that you’re funny.” Michael shot back. “And I’m fine.”
“Yeah I can see that, as for the being funny part, it happens occasionally.”
“Well now wouldn’t be one of those times.” He leant forward resting his hands on the table.
“Ok what the hell happened to you?” Lincoln asked him. “Asshole.”
Michael sat back and looked over at him. “Nothing has happened to me, I was simply sitting here thinking, and I’m fine. Should I say it again just in case?”
“You remember that part, just a minute ago, where I called you an asshole, I think it still stands.”
“Well you know what they say, one can always find another.”
“So you’ve sunk to those tactics now huh?” Lincoln grinned at him. He shifted in the seat and faced his brother. “Mikey, you’re not really freaking out over getting married are you?”
“No I’m not.”
“Cos you and Sara have been together for 4 years.”
“I’m aware of that Linc and how many times do I have to tell you that I’m fine.”
“Right, want to try that again, really convince me.” He shot back. “I know you better than anyone Mikey, what the hell happened?”
Michael nodded back at him and reached behind him to the small shelf that sat against the wall and picked up a newspaper.
“What is that?”
Michael placed the paper down and turned the pages until he found what he was looking for, pushing It across to Lincoln. “This is what happened.”
Lincoln sat forward, reading the section that Michael was pointing at. “You’re damn well kidding me, that’s today?”
“Yes its today.”
“Chance Woods, shit I guess that I forgot about it, 4 years today huh.” Lincoln replied.
“I’d really like for Sara not to remember, LJ as well. They shouldn’t.”
Lincoln nodded back at him. “Yeah, that makes sense. Sorry.”
Michael shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t worry about it.” But he was going to anyway, they both would.
“Well at least you’ll have your own soon.”
Paul turned to look at Stuart who was sitting on the sofa with Lorelei who had been crying for the past ten minutes.
“Yeah, and how much am I looking forward to that.” He replied, pointing to Lorelei.
“Ah come on, this right here, is a dream come true.” Stuart grinned back at him. “What’s not to love.”
“Guess I’m not really a baby person.” Paul told him.
“Uh, well if you say so.”
Paul was still standing there, still holding Caleb. “That’s uh… shut up, its different, I can give him back.”
“You won’t be saying that in a few months time. You know I think its hilarious.” Stuart said. “I really would agree with you, not a baby person, and now you’re stuck with it.”
“Thank you so much, I’m so glad you think that this is funny.”
“I do, I think its fucking hilarious.” He grinned back at him.
“OH MY GOD!”
They both glanced over their shoulders, somewhere within the house Sara was either extremely happy about something, or about to be incredibly pissed of.
“The true joys of wedding planning.” Stuart said. He stood up and started walking towards the door. “You really don’t want to miss this, trust me.”
Yay I finally got over my writer's block on this fic and have a new chapter to post, a fun one, there is a wedding on the way, so they deserve a bit of break.
Hope you like it.
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
Stuart and Paul headed towards the sound of Sara’s voice, they were fairly certain that she was in the den, and when Stuart pushed the door open, he was surprised to see Frank standing there.
“Well that makes a little more sense I guess.”
Sara turned to look at him. “What was that?”
“We heard you from the living room, thought something horrible was happening.”
He stepped up beside his boss and patted him on the back. “Snuck up on her did ya?”
“Not my intentions, turns out she was preoccupied and didn’t see or hear me until I was standing right beside her.”
“I’m so glad that you all think that this is a joke.” She shot back. “You scared the hell out of me Dad.” She walked across to where Paul was standing, still holding Caleb. She took the little boy from him and moved back towards Frank. “Anyway, you said that you wouldn’t be here for a few more days yet.”
“Well there was a change in plans. I thought that I might get to spend a little time with Caleb beforehand.”
“He’d like that, seeing as he hasn’t seen you in a couple of months.”
She passed her son to his grandfather but Caleb took one look at him and started to cry.
“Was it something you said?” Paul laughed.
Frank turned to look at him. “Just remember that I can easily have you both transferred back to Chicago. And don’t think that I wouldn’t.”
“Yeah I think I’m going to go and see what Linc is up to.”
“That sounds like a good idea.”
Stuart turned towards the door and disappeared.
“You know there’s something that you could say Paul.” Sara said, looking over at him.
He narrowed his eyes at her and attempted to back up towards the door.
“What are you talking about?”
“She’s not talking about anything.” Paul quickly answered.
“I don’t believe you in the slightest Paul, what’s going on?”
He sighed heavily. “Fine, you want to know, its not big deal anyway. Jess is pregnant.”
Frank stood there, staring at him for a moment and then started laughing. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to, but you’re the last person I would imagine with a child Paul.”
“Yeah, you’re not the only one thinking that.” He answered.
“Aww.” Sara laughed. “Big tough Paul Kellerman is afraid of a tiny little baby.”
“I’m not afraid, I’d go more with like absolutely terrified.”
“You’ll be fine.“ She grinned at him. She took her son back from her father and cradled him on her hip. “I really should put him down for a nap.”
“That’s fine, I have a few calls to make anyway.”
“Dad, please tell me that you’re not going to end up spending all of your time working?” She asked before stepping out of the room.
“I promise, only half of the time.”
Sara watched as the car pulled into the driveway and Gretchen and Chris climbed from the vehicle. Waiting a moment longer, she saw Serena and Jessica make their way up to the front door.
“What are you still doing in here?” Michael asked with a smile. “I assume that that is Jess.”
She smiled back at him and headed towards the door. “I’m leaving Caleb here.”
Michael waved at her and laughed to himself as she disappeared out into the hall. Glancing over at their son who was sitting on the bed by his feet, Michael screwed up his nose when Caleb started chewing on the end of the cordless phone. He leant forward and took it from his son, replacing it with the teddy bear he was so fond of chewing on.
Caleb glanced up at him, a look of disgust on his face that his father had taken the phone away. He dropped the teddy bear down on the bed and started crawling towards Michael.
Caleb held his hand out, pointing to the phone. “Ta.”
Michael shook his head, laughing at his son. “No baby.” He leant over picking up the teddy and held it out for his son.
“No.” Caleb replied.
“That sounds about right.” He picked his son up and placed him on his lap. “Mommy will love to hear you saying that.”
Sara pushed past Serena and Gretchen to get to Jessica, the two shared a look and then squealed, embracing while the others watched with confusion and eye rolling.
“I want to know everything.”
“Oh dear lord, should we start running now?” Chris asked and Gretchen glared at him. “OK, gonna leave now.”
The two sat down on the sofa while the others left the room.
“Ok, I’m about 10½ weeks.” Jessica explained. “They’re giving me an early September due date.”
“That is amazing.” Sara replied. “How did Paul take the news when you told him?”
Jessica couldn’t help but laugh. “I knew that you’d be wanting to know that.”
Sara shrugged her shoulders. “Well yeah, I kinda gave him a hard time earlier.”
“Oh yeah, I’ve been doing that as well, he sort of freaked out to begin with, but I think he’s looking forward to it.” She shifted in the seat. “Actually I’m a little nervous.”
Sara reached out and placed her hand on Jess’ arm. “That’s perfectly normal sweetie, but you’ll be fine. Me, I was terrified.”
“Yeah, but believe me, the first time I went for an ultrasound and really got to hear the heartbeat, it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and everything I had been worrying about, it went away.”
Jessica glanced over at her and smiled. “I really hope so.”
“Uh no it didn’t, you couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.”
“You’re insane you know that right.”
“Oh my god, you’re all insane and you’re giving me a headache.” Gretchen sighed.
Stuart turned to look at her. “Thanks for that.”
“Well I think that you’re cheating anyway.” Lincoln cried out.
Stuart raised an eyebrow at his boyfriend. “I’m sorry, and how exactly did you come to that conclusion?”
“Well you’re winning and I am not.” Lincoln answered.
“Oh yeah I love your defense, its brilliant.”
“Just give me the ball.” Lincoln said, grabbing at Stuart.
Stuart bounced the basketball towards Lincoln and it hit a stone, rolling away from him.
“Yeah that right there might be a reason why you’re losing.”
“Whoever thought that this was a good idea, clearly needs a slap in the face.” Gretchen added.
“There’s nothing wrong with a little competition.” Serena laughed.
“No.” Gretchen replied. “But when these four get like this, it will last for days.”
“You’re not really lumping me in with the rest of them are you?” Michael asked. “I think that’s a little much.”
Gretchen turned to look at him. “Oh no Mikey you’re the exception. Ok I’ve just noticed, where the hell are Nika and LJ?”
“You’re just noticing that now?” Lincoln laughed. “Great observational skills you have there. They went up to Waverly, they’ll be back tomorrow.”
“Right, well can we get over the basketball for now, move onto something a little….”
“More alcoholic.” Stuart smirked at her.
Gretchen shrugged her shoulders. “Hey, they are getting married in a few days, I think that calls for some drinking.”
“Yeah, I’d go with that.” Lincoln added. “And we’ll call this game a draw, seeing as Stuart and Michael cheated.”
“Someone’s a sore loser.” Stuart mocked him. “Drinking it is.”
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
“So this is what has been happening here, two of my best Agents leave to come here to party.”
Sara looked over at her father and smiled. “Would you lighten up a little. This is a vacation, for all of us. No one is thinking about work, and they shouldn’t have to.”
“Well then can I point out that no one should have to be subjected to this.” He motioned towards the den where Lincoln, Stuart, Paul, Chris and Michael were sitting around a small poker table.
“I can give you that, sometimes they can be a little much, but its all in good fun.” She laughed.
“Sara can I ask you a question?”
She nodded in response, and anyway, saying no wouldn’t have stopped her father.
“How is that you have no problem being around Paul like this?” He wanted to know.
Sara drew in a deep breath. “Dad.”
“Just answer the question.”
“Because we’re adults.” She replied. “The rest of it, doesn’t matter anymore, it was such a long time ago, we’ve both moved on and we are happy.”
“Well if you say that its true, then I will take your word for it.”
She sat back against the sofa and turned her focus on the guys playing cards, there was some bickering coming from them, not unusual at all, in fact some times she quite enjoyed it. This group of people she would never have pictured being friends, but they were, and she was thankful for that.
“Oh now come on.” Lincoln cried out. “How the hell did you beat that?”
Chris slammed the cards down onto the table, a grin from ear to ear. “I’m just that good.”
“Ha, that’s not what she said.”
“Oh snap.” Chris glared at him. “Shut your mouth and take the shot.”
“Yeah you want me to do both at the same time.” Lincoln chuckled.
“Whatever, just drink that already, you lost and those are the rules.” Chris replied, he pushed the glass across the table to Lincoln.
Paul gathered up the cards to deal the next hand. “Ok this princess crap has got to stop.”
“Who’s being a princess?” Stuart replied. “You have yet to have even one drink.”
“Well if you guys didn’t suck so much at poker.”
“Is that really a conversation I want to hear?”
“Oh my god, can you lot hear yourselves.” Gretchen said as she moved through the patio doors into the room.
“Well it only goes south when you make comments like that.” Chris told her. He grabbed her arm as she walked past and pulled her onto his lap.
“There was nothing wrong with my comment, its you lot.” She shot back.
Sara was still sitting on the sofa with her father and had to cover her mouth to stop herself from laughing, Frank had this disturbed look on his face.
A moment later, he turned to look at her. “I think that I’m going to go and get some coffee.”
“Ok Dad.” She smiled, and watched him as he left the room.
She pushed herself of off the sofa and moved towards the table. “Thank you for freaking out my Dad with your craziness.”
“Yeah sorry about that.” Stuart said, looking up at her.
“Actually that in itself was rather entertaining.” She answered. “I’m going to check on the kids.” She leant down beside Michael and pressed a kiss to his cheek. She must have whispered something to him, because a few minutes after she left the room, he pushed his chair back and followed her.
“Any takers on what they’re up to.” Stuart laughed.
“Shut up.” Gretchen said, smacking him across the back of the head.
“That was a little bit uncalled for.”
She shook her head back at him. “I don’t think so, because I know what was about to come out of your mouth after that.”
“Dirty.” He replied, grinning up at her.
She stared at him, but couldn’t help herself and started laughing anyway. “Remind me again why we’re friends.”
“I’m sure that if you enlightened us, then we would all know.” Paul answered.
“OK so are we going to play or not? Gretch you can take over for Mikey seeing as he’s currently preoccupied.”
“You really were just checking on the kids.” Michael laughed.
She moved back towards the door and grabbed his arm, pulling him towards the bathroom, she closed the door and clicked the lock shut.
She placed her hands on her hips and stared back at him. “You have a better idea? At least we’re alone in here.”
Michael locked the second door entry from the hallway, and turned back to face her.
Stepping up to him, her hands reached for the zipper of his jeans, and she backed him against the wall.
He brought his hands to her face and cupped her cheeks, bringing his mouth to hers in a fervent kiss.
Dropping his hand to her shoulder, he brushed aside the strap of her shirt, and with his momentum, he turned her around, but suddenly stopped.
“What are you doing?” Sara asked, glancing up at him.
“I can hear someone in the hallway.” He sighed, and a moment later there was a knock on the door.
“You have got to be kidding me.” Sara replied. “This is just unbelievable.” She adjusted her clothing and walked over to the door, glancing over her shoulder back at Michael. “The next time we go away on vacation, we’re not taking the entire family.”
“I’m going to hold you to that.” Michael said.
Sara pulled open the door and saw Lincoln standing there.
“Yeah I know, incredibly bad timing, hate me later, but Dad just turned up.”
“And that required the interruption.” Michael shot back.
“Yeah it did, he said that he wanted to talk to you about something.”
Michael shook his head and sighed heavily. “Fine, we’ll be down there in a minute.”
Four Days Later:
Stuart held the door open while LJ carried his son’s car seat outside. He glanced over his shoulder.
“Where the hell did Dad go?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Dunno.”
“Why are we always the last to leave?” LJ sighed. “We’re gonna be late.”
“We’re not gonna be late, and ok if we are, totally blame your father for it.” Stuart told him. “I’m good with that.”
Several minutes later, Lincoln finally appeared in the living room, he was carrying several of the bags and dropped them on the floor at his feet. “Shit, forgot something will just be a minute.”
He spun around and headed back out of the room.
“Linc come on.”
He returned carrying a cooler bag and dropped it next to the others. “Yeah I know, we need to leave, but if we forget something, Sara is going to have a nervous breakdown.”
“Do you finally have everything now? Can we go.”
Lincoln nodded back at him. “Yeah, lets get the hell out of here.”
15 minutes later, Lincoln, Stuart, LJ and Liam were on their way up to the lake, the others had left 30 minutes before them, they would already be there by now.
“Hey Dad, you did remember to lock the front door, didn’t you?” LJ sat in the back, grinning to himself.
“if that is supposed to be funny, it really isn’t.” Lincoln shot back.
“Why the hell are you so stressed out?” Stuart wondered. “You’re not the one getting married, yet.”
“Uh you do remember what Michael and Sara were like this morning don’t you? I knew it wouldn’t be long before Mikey started to lose the plot, hell they’re only getting married and they’re acting like this, being around them, is hard on the nerves. I swear that any second they’re both gonna turn around and I’ll be minus a few limbs.”
“Only a couple more hours, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.” LJ pointed out.
“Yeah and aren’t we all thankful for that. OK I can deal with it, a couple more hours and those two will be married, Mr. and Mrs. Uptight.”
“Hey, what about you two, is one of you going to take the others name?” LJ curiously asked.
“Dunno about that, could be a little weird, people might mistake us for brothers.” Stuart chuckled to himself.
“Yeah, and then when the two of you start making out.” LJ laughed from the back seat. “it would be hilarious.”
Lincoln glanced in the rear view mirror. “There is something wrong with you.”
“Yeah yeah, and everyone knows it.” He answered. “Hey Dad, don’t miss the off ramp.”
Lyrics in this chapter are All 4 One - I Swear
Hope you enjoy it
CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky, and I swear like the shadow that’s by your side
“So you’re finally making an honest woman out of her.” Lincoln chuckled to himself. “its taken you long enough.”
Michael turned to look at his brother and raised an eyebrow. “Well I think that something similar can be said to you, eventually.”
“Yeah yeah, I get you.” He answered. “Oh please do tell Stu that I intend to make an honest woman out of him.”
Michael shook his head, but laughed regardless. “I’ll remember to do that.”
Hearing laughter behind them, they both saw Jessica, Paul and LJ walking towards them.
“Where are the others?” Lincoln called out.
“They’re on their way over now.” LJ answered. He was carrying his son, and placed him down on the grass. “Sara said something a problem with her dress.”
Michael glanced over at him, concern etched on his face. “is everything alright?”
“Yeah, sorry, they’re sorting it out now, seeing as I’m not a girl, or really that into fashion, can’t tell you exactly what happened.”
“Should I respond to that.” Lincoln laughed.
“Maybe you shouldn’t.” Jessica said, a grin playing across her lips.
“Well I didn’t want to say anything, but you know, ever since you and Stu, yeah that’s just scary, you now dress like a real person.”
Lincoln narrowed his eyes at his son. “What are you trying to imply?”
LJ shrugged his shoulders. “I wasn’t trying to imply anything.”
“I think that what he’s trying to say is that being gay, works for ya Linc.” Gretchen grinned at him as she walked up.
“Thanks Gretch, knew that I could count on you.”
“You know I’ve always been meaning to ask, but never got around to it, have you ever been attracted to a woman?”
“Have you?” He shot back and then raised an eyebrow when she shrugged her shoulders.
“OK, this conversation is going to an uncomfortable place.” LJ pointed out. “Cos you two, and knowing you, well I think you get it.”
“I don’t think that they do, that’s why it keeps happening.” Michael responded.
“Are they being inappropriate again?” Chris asked, walking up and slipping his arm around Gretchen’s waist.
“Well I wouldn’t use the word inappr…” Paul started to say, but Jess reached across and slapped him on the arm.
“You were saying.” Lincoln laughed again.
Several minutes later, Aldo, Stuart and Nika walked over to the gazebo.
“Uh, what’s with the guitar?” Paul asked.
“A rock concert, I’m gonna smash it over some dude’s head.” Stuart replied.
“Yeah, figured I shouldn’t have asked.
“They’ll be ready in a few minutes.” Aldo said, he was carrying Caleb, while Nika was pushing Lorelei in her stroller.
“is everything alright with her dress?” Michael wanted to know. He walked across the gazebo, taking Caleb from his father.
“Its fine, we managed to sort it out.” Nika told him. “And it wasn’t really that big of a deal to start with. Never ask LJ for that sort of information.”
“Standing right here.” He shot back.
“So how long exactly did you say they would be?” Michael wanted to know.
Nika smiled over at him. “A couple of minutes.”
Sara drew in a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. She smoothed her hands down the fabric of her wedding dress, and glanced in the mirror again. She had brought it almost 7 months earlier, knowing that eventually they would get married, and she couldn’t believe that that day was finally here.
She had no idea that she would feel so nervous, they had been together for almost four years, they had a son.
“Sara, are you ready to go?”
She glanced over her shoulder and saw her father standing in the doorway. With another deep breath, she nodded back at him, and he took her hand and lead her outside.
Across the field she could see the gazebo, she could see Michael standing there, he was holding their son, while the others stood around him.
A smile played across her lips, and the nerves she had felt earlier, dissipated.
This is what she had waited for, what she wanted, so what was there to be nervous about?
Well nothing that she could think of.
With her father leading the way, they walked over to the gazebo. She smiled again as she watched Michael watching her. Lincoln leant over and patted him on the back, he had said something, but Sara couldn’t hear him
Aldo stood next to his sons, and Sara couldn’t help but think that even a year ago, that wasn’t really a possibility, and now here he was about to marry them.
When she was younger, she had dreamt of a big white wedding, traditional with all the trappings, as she had gotten older, as she had changed, so had the dream, now the only guests at her wedding were family, and she was ok with that, because it was all she needed. Most of them had been there when it started, when she had first met Michael, when they began dating, so it was appropriate that they be the ones there for this.
Hearing her father again ask if she was alright, she turned to look at him and smiled.
“Then what are we waiting for?”
I see the questions in your eyes, I know what’s weighing on your mind, You can be sure I know my part, Cause I stand beside you through the years, You’ll only cry those happy tears, And though I make mistakes, I’ll never break your heart.
And I swear by the moon and the stars in the sky, I’ll be there, I swear like the shadow that’s by your side, I’ll be there, For Better or worse, till death do us part, I’ll love you with every beat of my heart
And I swear
I’ll give you everything I can, I’ll build your dreams with these two hands, We’ll hang some memories on the wall, And when, just the two of us are there, You won’t have to ask if I still care, Cause as the time turns the page, My love won’t age at all
Stuart sat on a small wooden stool, the guitar on his lap. So many times now she had heard him sing, and she would never get tired of his voice, when asked if she would have a song playing, she instantly knew that she wanted her brother-in-law so to speak, to sing, seemed appropriate.
She was standing next to Michael now, her father pressed a kiss to her cheek and stepped aside, watching his daughter marry the man who saved her life.
To cheering and clapping, Michael smiled at his new bride and wrapped his arms around her waist, a kiss like they had never kissed before. Sara wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled against his mouth.
He smiled back at her. “Mrs. Scofield.”
“I like the sound of that, has a nice ring to it don’t you think.”
He brushed his lips against hers again. “I definitely think.”
“Right, who’s up for getting drunk?” Lincoln called out, he glanced over at Gretchen and the two nodded.
Michael saw the look, but had no idea what was going on, and then each of them, picked up a bottle of champagne, shook it, and then sprayed the contents over Michael and Sara.
They didn’t care though, they didn’t care at all. Still wrapped in each other’s arms, they were oblivious to everyone else.
A moment later, Michael turned to Nika who was holding Caleb and took the one year old from her and moved back to Sara who pressed a kiss to her son’s cheek.
“Happy birthday baby.”
Caleb waved his arms about and gurgled something incoherent causing his parents to laugh.
“So, was it all you imagined?” Michael asked her.
Sara shook her head. “No, it was even better.”
CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN
“That is just plain gross.”
“Please tell me that you are not still going on about that?” She sighed. “Its been a long time now, I was sure that you would be used to it.”
He tilted his head to look at her. “What are you talking about?”
“What are you talking about?” She answered. “You’re complaining about Linc and Stuart aren’t you?”
Paul glanced over to the other table where Lincoln and Stuart were sitting and he raised an eyebrow at the two of them making out.
“Well yeah I could really do without seeing that, but that’s not what I’m talking about.” he explained. He pointed over Jessica’s shoulder to where LJ was crouched over some bushes, Nika standing beside him while he threw up.
Jessica raised her hand to her mouth to suppress her laughter. “Oh, I see.”
“And you’re laughing.”
She leant over and placed her hand on his arm. “Well baby it was pretty funny. I thought you were talking about them.”
“Yeah, well that surprisingly I’m pretty used to now.” He pushed his chair back and stood up, walking around the table towards the door.
Inside, sitting at the kitchen table, Michael, Sara, Frank and Aldo were busy discussing something.
Sara glanced up at him when he stood next to the counter and disturbed look on his face.
“Are you alright?”
“Just trying to get away from the throwing up.”
“Who’s throwing up?” Aldo asked, finally noticing that Paul was standing there.
Aldo shook his head. “I don’t understand why he was allowed to have alcohol to begin with.”
“Dad, he’s 19, and we’re celebrating.” Michael replied.
“And that makes it ok. And he is barely 19.” He answered. “And don’t think I’m unaware of this happening before.”
“Well you could always go out there and tell your son to control his son.” Paul said with a smirk. “You know, he’s the one making out with his boyfriend.”
Michael glanced over at Sara and the two shared a smile, while Aldo sat there with a concerned look on his face.
“You know I admire our ability to clear a room in just a few minutes.” Stuart chuckled to himself.
“I can see that you’re really proud of that.” Lincoln replied. He reached across the table and picked up the bottle of whiskey he had placed there earlier.
“Please tell me that you’re not actually going to drink that.”
Lincoln grinned at him and raised the bottle to his lips, he took a mouthful of the liquid. He didn’t want to swallow it though and made a funny face, before spinning in the chair and spitting it out on the ground.
“Ha that will teach you.”
“I can’t believe that Dad drinks this crap. Or that LJ does.”
“And LJ is going to be sorry tomorrow.” Nika added as she moved back to the table. “Where did Jess go, and Serena for that matter?”
Lincoln shrugged his shoulders. “Didn’t even notice that they weren’t there.”
“Hey you guys, can you come inside.” Sara called from the doorway, “We want Caleb to open some of his gifts.”
Lincoln and Stuart made their way into the house while Nika helped her already drunk boyfriend.
“Ok, so who’s the wise guy that got the one year old a pony?” Lincoln said with a serious face until they all turned to look at him.
“Really? What is you and your obsession with ponies all about?” Gretchen asked, raising and eyebrow at him.
“I think I mentioned it once.” He shot back. “So bite me.”
Sara shook her head and kept her focus on her son, who was sitting on the floor in front of the sofa. Liam and Lorelei were busy trying to tackle a drunken LJ to the floor, and Nika and Serena had to pick them up and sit them on their laps.
Michael picked up one of gifts from the table and placed it down in front of his son.
Caleb’s first reaction was to hit it, but then he picked it up and chewed on the corner, he did however successfully manage to get the corner open and Sara helped tear the paper of.
“Fire truck.” Liam excitedly called out, causing the others to laugh. He struggled in his mother’s arms to get onto the floor for the toy.
“Baby, that’s a toy for Caleb.”
“Fire truck.” Liam repeated.
“Liam, that’s Caleb’s fire truck.” LJ added, he sat up, and reached for his son’s hand, but Liam wriggled in his mother’s lap.
“Dad, I’m curious to know what it is that you got for him, you told me it was taking a couple of days to sort out.” Sara said.
“And it did.” He reached into his pocket and produced an envelope, handing it to his daughter.
She opened it, and the others watched in confusion and curiosity as her eyes went wide and she held the piece of paper out to Michael.
“OK what is it, got me curious.” Lincoln said.
Sara looked up at her father. “You can’t be serious.”
“I’ve never been more serious about anything Sara, he deserves it.”
“The one year old, deserves $50,000.”
“What the fuck?” Lincoln cried out.
“I’ve organized a trust fund for Caleb, he can use it for college, or whatever he likes.”
“Dad, that’s a lot of money, I can’t let you do that.”
“I’m not asking for permission to set up a fund for my grandson, and you will accept it, because I won’t take it back.”
The two stood up and she embraced her father. “Thank you, so much Dad.”
After putting her son to bed, Sara made her way back downstairs to continue celebrating her wedding day.
Everyone had gathered outside again, exception of LJ who had fallen asleep on the sofa.
Michael pulled another chair over, and Sara sat down, accepting a drink from Gretchen, she had pushed all of the bottles down to the other end of the table, refusing to give any to Lincoln and Stuart.
“Give me the damn bottle.” Lincoln glared at her.
“You want it, you’ll have to come and get it. And we’ve talked about this before buddy, you are a horrible drunk.”
“I’m a wonderful drunk thank you very much, now hand it over.”
She reluctantly pushed the bottle down the table and he poured out more than half a dozen shots.
“You know what, I think we need to make things a little more interesting.”
“Oh dear lord, and so it starts.”
Lincoln looked over Jess and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, you’ll be sorry.”
“I’m sure that I will be.” She grinned back at him.
“Who’s up for a little truth or dare?” he said.
“Yep, we’re all gonna be sorry.”
“Lincoln, don’t you think that you’re a little past this?” Aldo questioned his son.
“Uh no. You have met me right?” Lincoln replied, shaking his head. “You’re in on this too old man.”
“We’ll play.” Gretchen said. “But just remember that you started this.”
CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT
“Ok, this is ridiculous.”
“I second that, like you’re gonna get any truth out of her.” Serena smirked at her mother.
“It sounds to me like someone wants to walk back to Cedar Rapids.”
“Yeah well maybe I’ll just hitchhike to a concert instead, like you did when Rebecca and Lucas thought you were in Des Moines with Aunt Rachel.”
Gretchen narrowed her eyes at her daughter. “I told you that, not so you could run and tell the grandparents. Besides, I don’t really care, what are they going to do.”
“You ran away and hitch hiked to a concert?” Lincoln laughed. “That’s lame.”
“What was the concert?” Jessica wanted to know.
“It doesn’t matter.” Gretchen shot back.
“OK I’m curious.” Stuart added. “How old were you?”
“It was not long after Serena was born.”
“Right so you were 15.” Lincoln replied. “What was it?”
“It was the Bangles.” Serena revealed.
No one said anything. They just sat there staring at Gretchen.
“Ok, no words.” Lincoln said. “I don’t think that’s ever happened before.”
“Oh yeah, well what about you Linc. I know plenty of stories about you.”
“Sure you do.” He scoffed.
“I did say, remember that you started this.” She shot back. “I don’t know the name, but something along the lines of you breaking your boyfriends nose when you were younger, trying to get him out of the house before Michael got home. Awkward huh, little bro walking in on you having sex with another guy.”
“Is this really appropriate?” Frank asked, he shifted in his seat, clearly uncomfortable with where the conversation was heading.
Sara leant over, and patted him on the back. “You alright there Dad?”
“Everyone knew that you and Chris weren’t ‘just talking’ in the garage when he was putting my bike together.” Lincoln glared at her. “We knew why you were coming over.”
“Ok, I think that might be about enough for me.” Aldo said, standing up from the table. “I’m going to call it a night.”
“Yeah that will do it, scar everyone for life.” Jessica laughed. “Like most of us aren’t already in need of therapy.” She looked over at Linc. “Now you’ve gone and scared the parents away.”
“Stories could be shared about you Jess, you’re not immune from this conversation.” Lincoln pointed out. “We’d really have Dad running away from the table.”
“Good night.” Aldo said staring at his oldest son.
“Thank you for everything today Dad, we really appreciate it.” Michael told him.
As Aldo walked past, he placed his hand on Michael’s shoulder. “Of course. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“I’m going to head of now as well.” Frank told his daughter. “Congratulations, I’m happy for you both.”
“Thank you.” She replied with a smile. “And thank you again for Caleb’s gift.”
A chorus of goodnights rang out, before the others turned their attentions back to the so called game.
“Ok, I need something to eat.” Stuart announced. He stood up and walked back into the house.
Several minutes later, he returned with a plate stacked with food. “You know if you guys want something, there’s more inside.”
He grinned back at Gretchen when she pulled a face at him and he placed the plate down on the table.
“Stuart, how did you managed to lock yourself out of the house wearing nothing but a towel?”
He looked back up at her, confusion written across his face. “What are you talking about?”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“Do you just stalk around with binoculars or something.” He glared at her. “Who else have you been perving on?”
“It wasn’t perving, and you weren’t exactly subtle.” She laughed. “When you went tearing across the back yard.”
“I think you’re overreacting a little there.”
“What the hell were you doing anyway?”
“Ok, so you weren’t actually locked out, you and Linc were doing it in the bushes again.”
“What the hell?” Lincoln cried out. “You’re a sick bitch you know that.” He turned to look at Chris. “How the hell do you put up with her.”
“You really want me to answer that.” He replied, and Gretchen slapped him across the arm. “Uncalled for, and not what I meant.”
“Eww.” Serena answered. “Please don’t go there. Its bad enough as it is, without being traumatized with that. Thanks all the same though.”
“I think we could all do without that.” Lincoln added.
“Like the rest of us want to see the two you groping each other all the time. There is a reason why people say get a room.”
“There is something seriously wrong with you, you do know that right.” Stuart answered.
“Well apparently, I’m not just a whore, I’m a bitch as well.”
“I really wouldn’t argue with that.”
“So the two of you, best friends huh.” Chris laughed.
Gretchen shrugged her shoulders. “What can I say, my best friend brings out the best in me.”
Sara reached over and grabbed Michael’s hand, motioning towards the house. “As interesting as this conversation is, we’re going to call it a night as well.”
“Aww, you don’t want to hear anymore of the disturbing sex talk.” Jessica laughed. “Gee I really can’t blame you.”
“No they’re going to go and have a sex talk of their own.” Lincoln chuckled, and Michael glared at him.
“Thank you for that.”
“You’re welcome little bro.”
“Just remember that there are children inside, and if I also remember correctly, something about Michael being god, we don’t want to hear you from here.”
Sara looked mortified, her face turning a bright shade of red and she ducked behind Michael so the others couldn’t see her.
“Yeah, yeah, we all know alright, gees Sara, anyone might think that you’re embarrassed.” Stuart laughed.
“Sure cos what isn’t embarrassing about that?” She shot back.
“Well it might have been a little more embarrassing if your old man was still sitting at the table.” Gretchen offered. “Shit that might even have gotten me.”
“Yeah right.” Serena scoffed.
Gretchen glanced over at her daughter. “Ok you seriously do want to walk home, don’t you?”
Michael and Sara quickly took the opportunity to go inside, almost knocking into LJ as he made his way to the door.
“How long was I asleep?”
“A couple of hours.” Michael informed him. “LJ, you’re not gonna start drinking again are you?”
“Are you kidding me, I’m never drinking again.”
Sara couldn’t help but laugh. “Because we haven’t heard that before.”
“Yeah well, I guess until the next time huh. Goodnight you guys.”
“Night LJ.” Sara replied before dragging Michael up the stairs.
Michael paused outside of the door, and with a grin on his face, he picked Sara up who was now in a fit of giggles at Michael’s attempts to carry her across the threshold.
When they were finally in the room, he kicked the door shut with his foot and two collapsed on the bed.
“Yes Mr. Scofield.” She replied, still laughing.
“I should have married you a long time ago Sara.” He rolled onto his side, his hand cupping her cheek, his lips brushing against hers.
“It doesn’t matter, because we’re married now.”
Capturing her mouth with his, he kissed her like he had never before.
“That we are.”
CHAPTER TWENTY NINE
Gretchen studied him for a moment, perhaps even waiting for him to say something. “OK, maybe the current boyfriend would get a little jealous.”
Stuart leant forward, resting his arms on the table top. “What’s with this current boyfriend thing? You make it sound like I’m gonna eventually be an ex.”
A smile played across her lips and she winked at him. “Aww are you picturing happily ever after. That’s just too adorable. I’m serious, there might be tears.”
“Yes I am picturing happily ever after thank you very much Devil.” he shot back. “And what do I care about an ex, it was forever ago, he was 15.”
Gretchen raised her hand to her mouth to stifle her laughter, but failed miserably. “You were 15. The great Lincoln Burrows lost his virginity at 15, or should I say…..”
“Please don’t say.” Paul, Jess and Chris said in unison.
“Well I wasn’t going to say whatever you think I was going to say.” She glared at Chris.
“And see how much I don’t believe that.” He answered.
“So what was his name?” Gretchen asked, ignoring the comment from her boyfriend.
Lincoln shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “What the hell does that matter.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “Doesn’t really, just curious.”
He let out a deep breath and rolled his head backwards cursing to himself. “Dean, you happy now.”
“Oh yeah, I’m delirious.”
“What about you, we all know that you were knocked up at 15, so when did the devil get started?”
She folded her arms across her chest and glared at Stuart. “As much as you think, I’m not that much of a whore, Dylan was my first thank you.”
“So, 12 then?” Stuart said, smirking at her.
“You’re hilarious. I was 14.” She quickly turned to look at her daughter, pointing a finger at her. “And don’t you say a damn word, you were 14 as well, so don’t think that I didn’t know about that.”
Serena’s eyes went wide and she spun to look at Nika. “You told her?”
“I’m sorry, but it just kinda slipped out.”
Gretchen scoffed at her sister. “Yeah, that’s what happened.”
“I can’t believe that you told her.” Serena sulked.
“And the difference it makes now.” Gretchen replied. “is zilch.”
“Zilch?” Lincoln repeated, raising an eyebrow at her. “Who the hell says that?”
“Why don’t you just sit there and have another drink.”
He reached over and picked up his beer, taking a mouthful before placing the bottle back down again. “Hmmm good to the last drop.”
“You must be so proud that your son has picked up your drinking habit.” She retorted.
They all glanced over at LJ who was sitting at the end of the table, his head resting on his arms, he was fast asleep.
“Someone can’t handle their booze.”
Gretchen tilted her head to look at Chris. “You’re one to talk, you barely even drink at the best of times.”
Lincoln leant forward, knocking over the bottle, it rolled across the table and fell to the ground. “Anyway, she makes a good point there Chris, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen you drunk.”
“There’s a reason for that, and it ain’t gonna change anytime soon.” He answered.
Lincoln picked up another bottle and stood up, moving around the table, he placed the bottle in front of Chris. “Now drink up.”
Chris shook his head and pushed the bottle and Lincoln’s hand away. “No thanks.”
Lincoln insisted, shoving the bottle at him again.
“Get away with that.”
He pushed the chair back, knocking it over as Lincoln followed after him.
“Get the hell away from me you freak.”
Lincoln continued to follow him with the bottle while Jess and Nika started gathering up some of the things from the table and took them inside.
When Gretchen moved down to the other end of the table, taking the seat next to Stuart, she raised an eyebrow as Paul started helping to clear up.
“Ok, ignoring the weird for a moment.”
“What are you doing?” He asked turning in the seat to look at her.
“I’m sitting, what about you?”
“Well I’m wondering exactly where my boyfriend chased yours of to.” Stuart replied.
Gretchen waved her arm in the air. “Ah, I wouldn’t worry too much about them, they won’t get far.”
“You sure about that, you’ve met the both of them.”
“That I…” She didn’t finish, instead she jumped slightly when LJ moved next to her, sitting up. “Damn it LJ.”
“Sorry.” He mumbled. “Do you know where Nika is?”
Gretchen pointed over her shoulder towards the door. “Cleaning, there’s something wrong with her.”
“Hmm, could explain why you live in a pig sty.”
“Ooo that must burn.”
Gretchen pulled a face at him and kicked him under the table. “Ooo so must that.”
They both watched as LJ stood up and tried to walk around the table, he knocked the back of Stuart’s chair, and he went to reach out to grab him when he thought he was going to fall over, but he made it to the door and disappeared inside.
“Ok, so don’t make a big deal out of this, but I’m sorry.”
Stuart turned to look at her. “Uh ok, what the hell?”
“Did you miss the part about not making a big deal of it.” She glared at him.
“Continue.” He motioned towards her.
“You know that I was just giving you a hard time right, with the ex thing, both comments.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah whatever.”
“No, really doesn’t matter.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” She leant back in the seat and folded her arms across her chest.
“What would happen if we broke up?” He asked her. “Yeah, thanks for that.”
“Are you serious, that’s not gonna happen.” She answered.
“Yeah maybe not.” He said. “She’s his daughter, if we did, then I wouldn’t….”
“Ah, gonna stop you right there, she’s your daughter too, and even if he hated you, which still wouldn’t happen, he wouldn’t keep Lore from you and you know that.”
“Yeah, I know that you’re right.”
“I really am sorry Stuart, it was just supposed to be a bit of… Didn’t mean to make you think that.” She told him.
He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, I’m just realizing how pathetic I sounded right now. Did I mention that I’m drunk.”
“I would add paranoid to that list, stubborn, insane.” She added with a wink. “And also not pathetic, and yes aware that you are drunk.”
Stuart pushed the chair back, stumbling slightly and started walking towards the side of the house, he could see Lincoln and Chris leaning against the fence, Chris looked out of breath, leaning over his hands resting on his knees, while Lincoln held the bottle in his hand, lifting it to his mouth.
He glanced over when he heard Stuart and patted Chris on the back. “Shit who would have guessed he could run like that?”
Stuart chuckled to himself, picturing Lincoln chasing Chris down the street with the bottle of alcohol.
Chris stood up again, still trying to catch his breath. “Yeah and who would have guessed the drunken idiot could even run, let alone fast.”
Stuart shook his head and continued walking over to them, he didn’t say anything else, he stepped up to Lincoln, his hand rising to the back of his neck, pulling him closer and pressed his lips to the other mans.
Lincoln in a way fell against him, and then held his hand out, waving the bottle at Chris, who took it, shook his head and made his way back to the table where Gretchen was still sitting.
Lincoln leant back against the fence again, looking up at Stuart. “What was that for?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Does there really need to be a reason?”
“Not at all.” He answered. “I was just curious.”
“Yeah.” Lincoln smiled up at him.
“I love you.”
Nodding slightly, he grabbed Stuart’s arm, pulling him towards him. “I had a feeling that you might.”
“Don’t ever leave ok.”
Lincoln looked at him again, wondering what the hell he was talking about. “Uh ok. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Nothing, just being crazy.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” He replied. “Wait, Gretchen said something didn’t she, you should know better by now than to listen to anything she says.”
“Good, cos whatever the hell you were talking about, I’m not going anywhere.”
“OK.“ Stuart wiped the back of his hand across his eyes. “I think I need to go to bed.”
“Yeah probably a good idea.” Lincoln answered.
Lincoln lead the way back to the house, everyone else had disappeared inside, but Gretchen and Chris were still sitting there and she looked up at them as they walked past.
“Sorry about that.”
“So you should be.” Lincoln shot back. “You know he’s a paranoid drunk.”
“Standing right here Linc.”
Lincoln turned to look at his boyfriend. “I know.” He placed his hands on Stuart’s back and guided him towards the door.
Eventually making their way up to the second floor, Lincoln jumped slightly when the door opened and Michael stepped out into the hall.
“Thanks for that.”
“Sorry.” Michael replied. “Is everything alright?”
“Drunk, going to bed.” He answered. “Didn’t think I’d see you again until at least midday tomorrow.”
“Just getting some water.” Michael told him.
“Just remember that you don’t have to worry about Caleb ok, we’ve got it covered.”
Michael disappeared down the stairs, and Lincoln and Stuart made their way to their own room.
Lincoln rolled onto his side, he wasn’t asleep, but he wasn’t fully awake either. He felt himself kick at the covers, pushing them to the end of the bed. A moment later, he felt Stuart move, his hand brushing against Lincoln’s back. He knew that his boyfriend was still asleep, Stuart had a habit of snoring when he was drunk, it drove him crazy, but what could you do.
Finally opening his eyes, he sat up letting himself adjust to the darkness, a small amount of dull light creeped in under the blinds.
Swinging his legs around he placed his feet on the floor and stood up, reaching over he picked up the baby monitor, he thought he heard one of the kids, but when it stayed quiet, he placed it back down at walked across the room, pulling the door open, he stepped out into the hallway.
He could hear faint voices downstairs, and wondered who was still up. He glanced at his watch and saw that it was a little after 2am.
Walking into the living room, he saw Gretchen, Paul and Nika sitting there, Jess was asleep on the sofa against the kitchen wall.
“What are you guys still doing up?”
They all turned to look at him.
“Lorelei woke up about 20 minutes ago, followed by Caleb and then Liam.” Nika explained.
“I never heard a thing, I had the monitor right there.”
“Maybe you were preoccupied.” Gretchen winked at him.
“Yeah I was preoccupied with sleep.” he shot back.
“Ok, it is too late, or whichever way you look at it, too early for this conversation again.” Paul added. “Was disturbed enough the first time.”
He stood up and moved over to the sofa where Jessica was asleep, they watched, surprised that he was able to pick her as quickly and easily as he did.
“Night.” Nika and Gretchen replied.
A few minutes later, Nika left as well and Gretchen turned in her seat to look at Lincoln.
“Ok, so did I mention that I was sorry about winding Stuart up.”
“Yeah you did.” he replied, sitting on the arm of the sofa. “Thanks again for that, I appreciate it.”
“You know why he does that though right?”
Lincoln nodded back at her. “Yeah I know.” He stood up again and started walking towards the kitchen door night. “Night Gretch.”
Taking two bottles of water, he went back up to bed. Stuart was still asleep, and had barely moved from the spot Lincoln remembered him being in.
Placing one of the bottles on the side table next to Stuart he walked back to his side and sat down, downing half the contents of the bottle before sitting it on the side table.
Lincoln sat there, closing his eyes and wiped his hand across his face, and when he felt Stuart’s hand against his back, heard his name, he swore he jumped through the roof.
He heard Stuart chuckle, and then apologize, and Lincoln shifted on the bed to face him.
“I thought you heard me, at least felt me moving.”
“No, but its ok.” Lincoln replied. He shifted again, lying back on the bed, he lifted his arm, tucking it under his head and closed his eyes.
A few minutes later, Stuart climbed of the bed and walked into the bathroom.
Lincoln heard the water running in the sink, and not long after that, there was a crashing sound as something hit the floor. Throwing himself from the bed, he appeared in the doorway, and saw that Stuart had knocked half of the things of the counter top.
He glanced up at him and shrugged his shoulders. “Sorry.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” He asked, walking into the room, and leaning over to pick up some of the things.
Stuart turned around and leant against the counter. “Yeah, apparently many things.”
“Ok, seriously never gonna let you drink again.” Lincoln told him. “I think you’ve gotten worse over time.”
Lincoln placed the soap dispenser on the counter and stood in front of his boyfriend. “So what are you are freaking out about now?”
“Nothing. Clumsy that’s all.”
“Sure it is.” He grabbed Stuart’s arm and pulled him towards the door. “Can we go back to bed now? You know before you wake everyone up.”
They both sat on the bed and Stuart looked over at Lincoln, hesitating a few times before actually saying anything.
“Yeah.” He answered, again lying back on the bed.
“You still want to, don’t you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Nothing.” He replied. “Don’t worry about it.”
Lincoln groaned, sitting up again. “Is this still about what Gretchen said?”
“No.” he answered all to quickly.
“Because its Gretchen, she doesn’t mean half the shit she says, and the rest of the time, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. And of course the answer is yes, I still want to.”
“Maybe you should just ignore me.”
Lincoln smiled to himself. “Yeah that never really works either. Its all good, I’ve known you for awhile now Stu, and I know what you get like.”
“Ok now it sounds like you’re making fun of me.”
Lincoln glanced over at him, a smile playing across his mouth, he held his hand up, indicting with his fingers that he was making fun of him, “Just a little.”
“Well if you’re done with that now, can we go back to bed.”
“Probably the best idea you’ve had yet.” Lincoln replied, flashing him another grin.
Sara pushed back the covers and swung her legs around, placing her feet on the floor. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw that Michael was asleep. Grabbing the robe from the chiar under the window, she pulled it on and snuck across the room, careful not to wake her husband up.
Stepping out into the hall, she almost undid her stealthy work when she nearly knocked into Gretchen who was headed towards her room.
“Damn it Gretchen.”
“Damn me, what about you?” Gretchen retorted. “Make a sound when you walk.”
“I was trying to be quiet.”
“Good job with that, I mean really.” She drew in a deep breath and shook her head. “Ok, you’re a medical professional, can you tell me what a heart attack feels like.”
“Not good I would assume.”
Gretchen raised an eyebrow at her. “Thank you. That really helps.”
“Yes I’m a Doctor, but I’ve yet to experience a heart attack, so your guess is as good as mine.” She replied.
“So, I’m assuming that you had a good night.”
Sara folded her arms across her chest and stared back at the other woman. “I’m so glad that you can still find the time, during a heart attack to talk about sex.”
Gretchen shrugged her shoulders. “Priorities right.”
Sara couldn’t help but laugh. Should she have really expected anything different from her friend. “Well I’m certainly not complaining, I hope that answers your question.”
Sara and Gretchen both spun around, from one of the bedrooms, someone was obviously having some trouble and when the door at the end of the hall swung open and Nika stepped out, she looked relived to see Sara standing there.
“I need your help.”
Sara started walking towards the door. “What happened.”
“Well actually LJ needs your help.”
Sara and Gretchen walked into the room, to see LJ lying across the bed, waving his foot in the air.
“Don’t do that.” Nika told him.
“Sorry, but I’m kinda in some pain here.”
“What on earth did you do.”
“The giant klutz got out of bed, and knocked the glass on the floor, then proceeded to stand on it.” Nika explained.
Sara moved around the bed and saw the broken glass and blood on the floor. She quickly looked at LJ’s foot and saw that there was glass still stuck in there.
“Yeah it hurts as bad as it looks alright.” He said.
“Just stay right there, I’m going to get some stuff from the bathroom.” Sara instructed him.
Gretchen disappeared out of the room while Sara went into the bathroom to collect some things to to bandaged LJ’s foot with.
Several minutes later she returned with a first aid kit and pulled a chair across sitting down next to the bed.
Placing a towel across her lap, he sat LJ’s foot down. “There’s still glass in there, I’m going to have to pull it out.”
“Just do it quickly.” He answered.
She pulled on a rubber glove, and grasped the glass between her fingers. It was in a lot deeper than she thought, and glancing down at the glass, she wondered how exactly he had managed it. “LJ on three ok.”
He nodded at her and squeezed his eyes shut.
“One, two…” She counted and before saying three, she pulled the glass from his foot.
“Eww, that is digusting.” Nika cried out.
“Damn it.” LJ replied. “I knew that you were going to do that.”
She didn’t say anything, she just went about cleaning the wound and bandaging his foot as best she could with the supplies she had.
“Just be careful, that cut is pretty deep LJ.” she shook her hand started cleaning up. “I”ll check it again in the morning, you might even need stitches.”
LJ groaned and shifted on the bed. “Great.”
“Well you’re the one who knocked the glass on the floor.” Nika pointed out. “Maybe if you weren’t so drunk.”
“Yeah well I’m not drunk anymore.” he replied. “Completely sober and in shit loads of pain.”
“Again, your fault.” NIka said, turning to Sara. “Thanks.”
Making her way back to the bedroom, having completely forgotten her reason for getting up in the first place, she removed the robe and climbed back into the bed.
The comfort of the bed, was overwhelming and she closed her eyes. Rolling onto her side, she felt Michael shifting beside her, his arm draping across her waist. Her eyes opening again, she smiled to herself.
“Is everything alright?”
“Mmm.” She responded. “Everything is fine.” Her fingers intertwined with his. “Go back to sleep.”
Her eyes falling closed again, she drifted of to a restful, comfortable sleep.
CHAPTER THIRTY ONE
6 months later:
Stuart walked out from the bathroom, wrapping the towel around his waist. “What did you say?”
Lincoln shifted on the bed and glanced up at his boyfriend. “Sara said something about it being only three days.”
Stuart nodded slightly, still not really understanding what Lincoln was talking about. He moved over to the dresser and pulled the draw open producing a clean t-shirt and boxers.
“Linc, you’re going to have be a little more specific there, what’s in three days?”
“Right.” he nodded again. “Now I understand. Could be longer though right.”
“Yeah I guess so, but as long as it happens in the next week, she’ll hopefully be good to go.”
“As long as she’s good to go. I’m sure that she would be thrilled to hear you say that.” He laughed.
“Well how the hell were we supposed to know that she would be due the week before we get hitched huh.” Lincoln replied.
“Uh Linc, we knew she was pregnant when we set a date, we did know, so you can’t use that as an excuse.”
“Whatever, Its not an excuse, just as long as she’s there.” He pointed out.
“I don’t think wild horses would be able to drag her away from this.” Stuart answered. “Cos how often do you get to see your brother marry another guy?”
“I’m glad you find this all so funny.” He shot back.
Stuart finished getting changed and walked over to the bed. “Look, I just think its adorable that you’re getting so worked up over it.”
Lincoln glanced over at him and raised an eyebrow. “Adorable, really, and I’m not worked up over it.”
“Then what would you call it?”
“You can be a son of a bitch sometimes, you know that right?”
Stuart grinned back at him. “Yeah I know, but you make it so easy.”
Lincoln shook his head and pulled the cover over himself. “Goodnight Stuart.”
Stuart laughed to himself and leant across, switching of the lamp.
Sara rolled over, she had tried for the past 20 minutes to get comfortable, but for some reason, no matter what she did, she just couldn’t fall asleep.
Letting out a deep sigh, she glanced over at Michael who was fast asleep and she cursed him under her breath.
Finally having enough of just lying there, she pushed the covers of and climbed out of the bed.
Making her way downstairs into the kitchen she noticed that someone had left a light on by the desk against the far wall.
Walking around the counter her foot hit something and she glanced down at the floor.
“Oh my god.” She cried out, raising her hand to her mouth.
She fell to her knees. “Jess, can you hear me.”
There was no response from the other woman and tears stung at Sara’s eyes. “Jess, sweetie if you can hear me, please.”
When there was still no response , Sara stood up and moved quickly to the bottom of the stairs, screaming for Michael, or for anyone for that matter.
Several minutes passed before both Michael and Lincoln appeared.
“What the hell happened?” Lincoln asked, moving to Jessica’s side.
“I don’t know, I came downstairs and she was just…” She paused for a moment to wipe her eyes. “And she was just lying there.” She looked up at Michael. “I don’t know how long she’s been here.”
Lincoln pulled himself to his feet and grabbed the phone from the counter, dialing 911.
“We have to call Paul as well.” Michael added.
“He’s not going to make it back in time.” Lincoln pointed out. “It will take at least 4 hours.”
Sara shook her head. “It doesn’t matter, he needs to be here, call him.”
“Sara, if anything happens to this baby.”
“No, nothing is going to happen.”
Sara sat in the chair, her head resting in her hands, she wasn’t even sure know how long they had been there, but she was guessing at least 2 hours.
And they still didn’t know anything. There was no reason as to why Jess collapsed or if she was even ok.
When they first arrived at the hospital Sara had wanted to go in with her, but it had been quickly pointed out that she was too close, to emotional, so she should just let the other doctors deal with the situation.
Glancing up, she saw that Lincoln was still pacing back and forth, his arms folded across his chest.
“This is pathetic, when the hell are we going to find out what’s going on?”
“Linc, its not been so long, I’m sure we’ll know something soon.” Sara replied. She wasn’t even sure of that herself, she was trying not to think about it, and failing miserably.
“I just spoke to Paul.”
Sara looked up to see Michael standing there, the cell phone still in his hand.
“He should be here in about an hour or so.” He continued. He walked over and sat down next to his wife. “Sara, is there going to be a baby tonight?”
“I honestly don’t know, No one will tell us anything.”
“So we go and find out.” He stood up again and began walking towards the large double doors at the end of the corridor.
Sara and Lincoln shared a look before following him.
They eventually found a nurse and after both Michael and Lincoln talked non stop for several minutes, confusing the poor woman, she finally agreed to go and find out what was happening.
“I really hope that Paul gets in here in time, if he misses this.” Sara said.
“I’m sure that he’ll get here, he’s probably breaking a dozen different laws in the process, but he’ll get here.”
10 minutes must have passed before the nurse returned again.
“They are still unsure of why Mrs. Kellerman passed out, but she is awake now and is doing well, they’re taking her up to the delivery suite now.”
“I’m sorry what, what do you mean delivery suite?” Sara wanted to know.
“Mrs. Kellerman has gone into labor.”
Sara turned to look at Michael. “He’s not going to get here in time.”
“Is anyone allowed to go in there with her?” Michael asked.
“As a matter of fact, she was asking for Sara.” The nurse said. She glanced at Sara. “I assume that’s you.”
Sara nodded back at her. “Yes, but I uh, don’t think that I should be the one.”
“Its fine, she needs someone with her, it should be you.” Michael replied.
Sara nodded again and followed the nurse back down the corridor. She was given a gown to wear, and was shown to the room where Jessica was being wheeled into.
She moved over to the side of the bed and reached out, taking Jessica’s hand. “How are you feeling?”
Jessica looked up at her. “I’m glad that you’re here.” She paused for a moment, trying to breathe through a contraction.
“Jess, Paul is on his way, he’ll be here really soon.”
Sara felt bad for her when Jess started crying. “He has to be here, he has to be.”
CHAPTER THIRTY TWO
Sara almost bounced into the room, a huge smile plastered across her face. Jess glanced up, she was having another contraction, but she almost laughed when she saw her sister in law.
“He just called, he’ll be here in ten minutes.”
She sat down on the edge of the bed, and grabbed Jess’ hand, helping her breath through the contractions.
A moment later, Jess collapsed against the bed, drawing in a deep breath. “Is he really?”
Sara nodded. “Yes, he said he’s only ten minutes away, I think he was also calculating the amount of time it would take to find a car park and make his way up here, or something along those lines.”
Jess nodded slightly, absolutely relieved that her husband was just minutes away, because at the rate things were going, she was just minutes away from giving birth.
They were supposed to take her up to the delivery suite, but that had been delayed for several minutes, but not because there was anything wrong with Jess and the baby.
A few minutes later the nurse came in, informing Jess that she was going to check on her progress.
Sara gave her hand a squeeze and a smile and then left the room.
Stepping out into the hall, she saw Michael and Lincoln sitting in the waiting room.
“Where did LJ and Stuart go?”
Lincoln pointed down the corridor. “Coffee.”
She sat down in the seat next to her husband and reached out, placing her hand on his knee. “Well it looks like she’ll be taken up to the delivery suite soon.”
Michael glanced up at her. “I thought they had already done that?”
Sara shook her head. “No, there were a couple of problems.”
“What?” Michael and Lincoln said in unison.
Sara held her hand up. “No, there’s nothing wrong with Jess or the baby, sorry, I’m not sure exactly what happened, but they’re fine.”
“Well gees you could have started with that.” Lincoln answered.
“I’m sorry, but everything really is fine, and there should be a baby in a few hours.”
“You really think so?”
The three of them looked up to see Paul standing there. He looked exhausted, and Sara stood up, walking over to him and hugged him. “Everything is fine.”
“Where is she?”
Sara grabbed his arm and lead him down the hall to Jess’ room.
Paul pushed the door open and stepped into the room. When Jess saw him, she fell back against the pillows and sighed heavily.
“I thought that you weren’t going to make it in time.”
He walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Well you don’t have to worry now, because I did make it.”
The nurse walked around the bed and reached out, quickly patting Jess on the arm. “its time to take you up to the delivery suite.”
Jess nodded, all to eager to finally have this baby. “Sandra, this is my husband Paul, he’ll be in the room with me.”
Sandra nodded and smiled at Paul. And just a few minutes later, Jess was being taken up to the delivery suite.
Sara leant back in the seat, it had been an hour now since Jess had been taken upstairs, and they were still waiting on news.
She placed her coffee cup on the arm of the chair and ran her hand through her hair.
It was after 3am now and they were all exhausted. LJ had fallen asleep on the chair across from them, and Michael was leaning to one side, Sara was sure that he was asleep despite how uncomfortable he looked.
Down the hall, she saw Lincoln and Stuart standing near the double doors, they were discussing something, but she had no idea what.
Well that was until Lincoln raised his voice, loud enough for the entire hospital to hear, and then Sara knew exactly what they were now arguing about.
Standing up, she made her way down to them.
“I’m sure that by now, you’re aware that everyone can hear you.”
They both turned to look at her, arms folded across their chests.
“OK, you two have been arguing about this for weeks now.” She pointed out. “You really need to sort it out.”
“We’ve got it under control.”
She raised her eyebrow at Lincoln. “Really. It sure sounds like it.”
“Its fine.” Stuart added.
This time Sara folded her arms across her chest and stared back at them. “I don’t believe you.”
Lincoln sighed heavily and leant back against the wall. “Sara, its not a big deal and we weren’t arguing about it.”
She looked up at him, and then smiled, shaking her head. “You two are unbelievable you know that.”
“You know I blame LJ for this, he was the one who started it.”
“By making a joke about changing names.” Sara laughed. “But it is a big deal Linc, and you two have been going on about it for weeks, make that months. You need to decide already.”
“We have not been going on about it for that long.” Lincoln shot back.
“Ok fine.” Stuart announced. “That’s it I’ve decided.”
They both looked up at him.
“What have you decided?” Sara asked.
“Lorelei is my daughter as well.” He said.
“OK.” Lincoln replied, and then nodded. “Yes she is.”
“And it would be kind of nice to have the same name as my daughter, so when we get married, I’m adding Burrows.”
“You don’t have to do that.” Lincoln told him.
“I don’t have to, or you don’t me too.”
Lincoln threw his arms up in the air. “And here we go again. That’s not what I meant.”
“Burrows-Tyler just doesn’t have the same ring as Tyler-Burrows.” Stuart pointed out.
Sara shook her head again and couldn’t help the smile that played across her lips. “You know what, I am so so grateful that I know you two, I really am.” She placed her hand on Lincoln’s arm and leant in, kissing him on the cheek, then repeated the action with Stuart.
Then they watched her walk back down to the seats before they turned to look at each other again.
“OK, so can we just agree on this already.” Stuart sighed.
Lincoln nodded and stood up, taking a step forward. “Ok, fine, we’re agreeing on this, its decided.”
“Thank you.” Stuart reached out and grabbed his boyfriends hand. “Have we really decided?”
Lincoln shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Yes we’ve decided.”
“Oh my god.”
They both turned to look at where Sara and now LJ and Michael were standing. Paul was there with them too.
“What are you oh my goding at?” Lincoln wanted to know.
“Jess had the baby, about 15 minutes ago.”
“A boy, just over 7 pounds.”
“A boy.” Sara repeated. “Ok, is anyone seeing a pattern here?”
“Well at least none of you have to worry about having a teenage girl coming home telling you that she’s knocked up.” Lincoln pointed out.
“So does baby boy Kellerman have a first name?” Stuart asked.
Paul nodded back. “He does, Riley James. You’ll be able to see them soon, they’re being brought down to the room now.”
“That’s a perfect name Paul.” Sara said, stepping forward, hugging her friend. “You’re gonna be a great Dad, trust me on that.”
“So, what happened, everything went well?”
As soon as Sara opened the door, Nika was there with questions about the newest baby in the family.
“Boy, a little over 7 pounds, called Riley James.” She explained. “And he’s beautiful. She only wants to stay there for tonight, so she’ll be home tomorrow.”
“Where are the others?” Nika asked.
Sara turned to look at the door. “They’ll be here in a minute.”
“I can’t believe that there’s going to be another baby around.”
Sara looked back at Nika. “Are you having ideas about a second?”
Nika shrugged her shoulders. “One day, definitely. Liam isn’t even 2 yet.”
“You’ve got plenty of time for more kids Nika.” Sara told her. “You’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”
CHAPTER THIRTY THREE
Jess stood in the doorway, her arms folded across her chest, and for awhile, she just watched.
And while she stood there, she couldn’t help smile.
“I would ask what you’re doing, but I’m a little afraid of the answer.”
She walked into the room and sat down on the sofa next to her husband who was currently trying to get their 2 week old son to sleep. He wasn’t having much luck with it though.
He glanced over at her and shook his head. “I don’t think that he likes me very much.”
She couldn’t help but laugh at his comment and reached over, placing her hand on his arm. “Don’t be crazy, you’re his daddy and he loves you.”
Paul looked over at her again and raised an eyebrow. “Are you actually sure about that?”
“Yes I’m sure.” She laughed again. “You’re a good father Paul, he’s just a little unsettled is all.”
“Oh well if that’s all he is, then that’s ok.” He answered. “God only knows Jess, what I would do without you. Riley and I would be living in squalor, both curled into tiny bawling balls.”
Jess nodded back at him. “Oh definitely, I can picture that.” She raised an eyebrow at him. “Bawling balls huh?”
“Now you’re making fun of me?”
She nodded back at him and flashed a smile. “Only a little bit though. I wouldn’t worry so much about it Paul. He’s only 2 weeks old, and you’ll find that routine with him, I know you will.”
“Well it’s a lot easier for you, than it is for me.” He pointed out. “At least he likes you.”
“Paul.” She laughed. “Ok, do you want me to put him to bed, I was thinking of turning in myself.”
He glanced up at her and smiled. “You go, I’ve got it.”
“Are you sure?”
He nodded in response. “Yes, I’m sure, maybe by the time you get up in the morning he’ll actually like me.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“OK, what did you miss about the 4?”
Lincoln rolled over, tucking his arm up under the pillow. “Stu, what are you talking about?” He sighed heavily, waiting for his boyfriend to give a reasonable, sane explanation, he wasn’t holding his breath though.
“There’s only 4 days left.”
Lincoln sighed again. “4 days. Stu come on don’t do this again. Besides I thought that I was the one who was freaking out over this.”
“Yeah well you were, now its my turn.” He shifted on the bed and threw his arm out, smacking Lincoln on the shoulder.
Shaking his head, he propped himself up and leant over, switching on the lamp on the nightstand. “Stuart, what is wrong with you?”
“I’m freaking out, you should recognize the gesture.” He answered. He fell back against the pillows, and tucked his arms under his head. “Linc.”
“We’re good right.”
Lincoln smiled to himself. It did make a nice change of pace for Stuart to be freaking out instead of him. “Of course we’re good, I have no idea why would think over wise, we’re getting married in 4 days, so yeah, everything is good.”
He switched of the lamp again and lay back on the bed. When Stuart kept tossing and turning he sighed heavily and again rolled onto his side, brushing his hand across Stuart’s shoulder. “What is it now?”
“Well in case you haven’t yet noticed, I’m kinda freaking out here.” He told him. “I get that on paper its not… technically legal, but that doesn’t really matter, that’s not the point I’m trying to make.”
“Ok, then what is the point?” Lincoln wanted to know.
“Well its just that to us, to everyone else, we’re gonna be married and I’m….”
He really didn’t mean to, but he laughed, and then felt even worse for it when he saw Stuart prop himself up on his elbows and glare at him.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to laugh, but really the freaking out, its adorable.”
Stuart rolled his eyes. “You’re hilarious, thank you so much for that.”
“Hey, just returning the favor.”
He reached out, placing his hand on the back of his soon to be husband’s neck and pulled him closer to kiss him.
“Yeah, if you think that that is going to work every time.” He told him.
“Then I would be right on target.” He smirked back. “OK fine, go to sleep.”
Sara closed her eyes only to open them again and stare at the ceiling. She couldn’t count how many times this had occurred since she had decided to go to bed.
There wasn’t really any reason for her sleeplessness, it was just one of those nights.
Glancing over, she saw that Michael was fast asleep.
Rolling onto her side, she looked over at the bedside table and saw that it was a little after 12am. Reluctantly she pushed back the covers and climbed out of bed.
After checking on Caleb, she made her way downstairs and was surprised to see the kitchen light was on. For a moment, she had a horrible flashback to walking into the kitchen and finding Jess, but when she walked into the room this time, she saw LJ sitting at the counter.
“What are you doing up? I didn’t hear Liam.”
He turned in the seat to face her. “No, he’s asleep, me not so much, obviously.”
“I was thinking of making some hot chocolate, do you want some?”
He sat there and watched as she went about making the drinks, several minutes later, she placed the mug down in front of him, but he barely even had time to pick it up before the kitchen door swung open and someone stumbled into the room collapsing to his knees on the floor.
LJ threw himself of the seat while Sara approached the man. She leant down, reaching out to him.
And they knew exactly who he was when he looked up, his hands clutching at his stomach, and Sara saw that he had been shot.
“You have to help me.” He pleaded with her. “Please Sara, help me.”
“Oh my god, what the hell happened to you James….”
CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR
Stuart studied her for several minutes, too many things he wanted to say, but he bit his tongue to prevent retorting.
She would probably quite like that.
“Ok, well you do know that that rule, doesn’t really apply to us right.” he finally answered.
“Well ok, you make a good point, about that, seeing as there is no bride and no dress, unless there’s something that you’re not telling me, but you two are crazy, so I thought you’d at least follow that simple tradition.”
“We’re not crazy, you are, and neither of us really care about that, so would you shut up about it please.”
“It hasn’t happened yet, but you know that there is a first time for everything.” She laughed.
“Yeah, you should focus on the it hasn’t happened yet part.” He told her.
“Oh come on, would you lighten up already, you’re getting married today.”
“I’m aware of that, why I don’t understand however is why you’re making fun of me.”
“Well isn’t that what best friends are for?” She smirked back at him.
“Remind me again, of how that happened.” Stuart answered.
“Aww, you love me and you know it.”
“Actually less and less as the days pass.” He walked around the counter and sat down next to her. He was going to add to that, but Sara walked into the room carrying Lorelei.
The 19 month old was already dressed for the wedding, and Sara noticed immediately the concerned look on his face.
“Its ok, everyone has been given strict instructions on not to give her anything that will stain the dress. They do, and there will be trouble.”
“So why is she uh, well you know that’s not gonna happen.”
“Well you can blame Linc for it, he’s freaking out, again.” She told him. “He’s already dressed Liam and Caleb as well.”
“Who would have ever guessed that there would be some fashion sense in him.” Gretchen added.
“Surprised everyday.” Sara responded. She walked over and handed Lorelei to Stuart.
She reached up, trying to grab the collar of his shirt.
“Yeah yeah kiddo, dada.” He stood up a moment later and headed towards the stairs. “I think I should check on Linc.”
“Ok, so I think it would be safe to say that by the time those to actually get married, they’re both going to be basket cases. I’m really looking forward to that.”
“Hmm.” Sara laughed. “Best friends you say.”
“What, you can’t tell that I’m a warm and loving person.” She answered. “At least now I know where my daughter gets it from.”
Sara moved around the counter and took a seat next to her. “Where is Serena? I haven’t actually seen her around in a few days.”
Gretchen drew in a deep breath and nodded slightly. “Staying with the grandparents, apparently she would rather be around them right now.”
“Did you guys have another fight?”
For several minutes, Gretchen sat there, twisting the straw in her glass between her fingers. “Yeah, something like that.”
“Well.” Sara started. “I’m sure it will all work itself out, always does.”
Lincoln paced nervously back and forth at the bottom of the stairs, all the last minute details were taken care of, and now there was less than an hour until they left.
Nika and Gretchen were sitting on the floor in the living room with the kids, watching them constantly to make sure that nothing happened to their clothes.
After awhile, Gretchen stood up and approached Lincoln. “Ok, this pacing thing, starting to drive me crazy.”
“You think.” He shot back. “You should try being me.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “Uh, right.”
Sara pushed open the kitchen door, and was surprised when she almost knocked into LJ.
She felt foolish for it, but for the past several days, she had been ignoring him, well not so much ignoring him, but the questions he might have thrown at her, she really didn’t want to answer them.
“You seen Dad lately. He’s freaking out something wicked.” He told her, trying to make light of the situation.
“I’ve seen him, but he’ll be fine, they both will be.”
She smiled at him, but she was sure that it came across as fake.
When nothing else was said, Sara turned back to the door, but LJ grabbed her arm to stop her from leaving.
She glanced at him, knowing exactly what he was going to say.
“Sara, I can’t keep lying to them about this.”
She swallowed hard, feeling the same way, but she wasn’t really sure what else to do about it.
“We can’t tell them LJ. Especially not today, we just can’t do that to them.”
“it doesn’t matter what day it is, none of them know what happened.”
“We will tell them LJ, I promise, just not today.” She answered. “Please, I understand, I really do, but we can’t do this today.”
Sara helped James to stand up and guided him over to the kitchen table. She sat him down and pushed aside his coat, revealing the blood stain on his shirt.
She glanced up to where LJ stood at the kitchen counter, a horrified, confused look etched across his face. “I need you to get the first aid kit from the laundry. LJ now.”
LJ hesitated for a moment before disappearing out of the room, returning a few moments later with the kit and handed it over to Sara.
“What happened to you James?” She questioned him again.
He leant his head back, wincing when she pushed his shirt up and pressed a cotton pad to the bullet wound.
“Wrong place, wrong time.” He told her through gritted teeth.
“That’s not an answer.” She shot back. “What happened.”
“I don’t think that you would want to know the answer.” He replied.
He shifted in the seat. And Sara leant back, dropping her hand to her side.
“You want me to help you, then I need to know what happened.”
“You will help me Sara, I know you pretty well, you’re not just going to leave me like this.”
Anger flashed in her eyes. “I should just take you to the hospital.”
“You can’t do that.” He responded.
She stood up again, and stared down at him. “Why not James? Give me a good reason why I shouldn’t call the police right now.”
He didn’t give her an answer right away, but he reached out and grabbed her around the wrist, staring right at her. “Don’t ask me right now ok.”
For some reason, they way he said those words to her, she assumed that he meant not to ask him while LJ was in the room.
“LJ I uh, I need some more supplies, the guest bathroom.” She said, turning to look at him.
He nodded back at her and left the room again. When she was sure he was gone, she leant down in front of James again. “OK, give me some answers.”
She continued to check the wound, waiting for him to start talking.
“The job I’m currently on, got a little, out of hand.”
“James, I swear to god, if you don’t give me a real answer.”
He looked up at her. “Sara, I can’t tell you, not because I don’t want to, but because I really can’t. And the fact that you really don’t want to know.”
“Why didn’t you just go to the hospital.” She questioned him.
“Can’t do that either.” he replied. “Too many questions. Gunshot means involving the police, and I’m not supposed to do that.”
Sara spent several minutes cleaning and dressing the wound.
“James, why did you come to me?” She wanted to know.
He glanced up at her. “Cos your about the only Doc I know that would help me, and I uh, wanted to make sure that…”
“Make sure of what?”
“That you were all alright.”
She studied him for a moment. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Remember the part where I said that you really won’t want to know. Just trust me on that.”
She stood up again, and placed all of the blood stained cotton pads into a garbage bag. “James, I’ve done as much as I can, but you really do need to get to a hospital.”
He shook his head, and tried to stand up. “I can’t go to a hospital Sara.”
Before giving herself time to back out, to rethink the crazy decision she was about to make, she grabbed her keys from the counter and helped James walk to the door.
“You’re going, but we’ll do this my way.”
When LJ entered the kitchen again, there was no sign of Sara or James, he started to panic, if anything happened to her, but that panic soon shifted to the fact that wherever they had gone of to, they had left the evidence behind.
He quickly gathered up the garbage bag, and took it to the cans outside. That was when he noticed that Sara’s car was gone.
“I don’t really want to ruin anything for them today either.” LJ told her. “But I hate keeping this from them.”
Sara drew in a deep breath and nodded. “Please LJ, just let this day happen, let them get married without… Tomorrow, the both of us will tell them tomorrow.”
LJ heard his father calling out from the living room, he nodded slightly at Sara and then made his way into the other room.
“Great, where the hell have you been?” Lincoln asked his son.
“Sorry Dad, it uh, doesn’t matter. I’m ready to go whenever you are.”
A moment later, Gretchen joined them. “Ok, so are we good to go yet? Lets get this freak show on the road.”
Lincoln and LJ both raised an eyebrow at her.
“I meant that in a good way.” She added.
“Yeah, like that helps.”
She reached out and patted him on the back. “You’ll be fine, just think in a few hours, you’re going to have yourself your very own husband, how exciting is that.”
“Ha.” LJ scoffed. “At least he’ll have one.”
CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE
Sara took James into the hospital and helped him down to her exam room. It still wasn’t enough, but at least there she had access to more supplies, and if she really needed it, more help.
“You really need to start giving me some proper answers James.”
“I was working.” He reluctantly told her.
“Working.” She asked, raising an eyebrow at him, not at all believing him.
“Yes I was working, I can’t tell you on what though, so don’t ask again.”
He sat up on the bed and leant back, letting Sara remove the bandage she had placed over it earlier.
“You’re gonna take it out right?”
“James, I’m not sure that I can, what happens if you’re going to need surgery?”
“Well then, just make sure that I don’t need surgery.”
Sara sat down on the end of the bed and reached out for her shoes, she was running a little late, and she knew that the others were downstairs waiting for her.
A few minutes later, the bedroom door swung open and Michael walked in. “Are you almost ready, they’re getting a little angst down there.”
She glanced up at him and smiled. “Just a few minutes.”
He nodded back at her with a smile. “OK, but you really don’t want to miss any of this, I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but watching the two of them, its entertaining.”
“Well Linc and Stu are always entertaining, they never fail on that that front.” She stood up and grabbed her purse from the dresser. “Ok, I’m ready to go.”
She followed Michael back to the door, and he lead the way downstairs, the others were standing near the front door, waiting to go.
“Thank god, its about time.” Lincoln sighed. “Can we leave now.”
“Why, is someone getting nervous? Planning on changing their minds?”
Both Stuart and Lincoln turned to look at Gretchen, who stood with her arms folded across her chest, a smirk playing across her lips.
Almost 35 minutes later, the group were standing in the parking lot of the restaurant. The nine of them were waiting for the celebrant to arrive, even though it wasn’t an official wedding by any means, they were treating it as the same, because it made no difference to them.
After this, they would be married.
“I still think its weird.”
“What are you talking about?” Lincoln asked his son.
“Well, this whole thing, you guys getting married.”
Lincoln turned to look at Stuart, but he didn’t say anything to his son’s comments. He wasn’t really sure what to say.
“I mean who gets married and then doesn’t go away on a honeymoon.” he said with a grin.
Lincoln reached across and slapped him across the back of the head. “You’re hilarious, anyone ever told you that?”
“Eww.” Gretchen added. “Can we just leave the honeymoon talk to the mere mention of the word honeymoon, because we really don’t want further details.”
“Yeah like we really want details of you and you’re whoring.”
Sara clamped her hand over her mouth, she wasn’t sure if she was horrified at Lincoln’s comment, or if she wanted to laugh.
“Well at least my whoring is natural, ok that wasn’t exactly what I meant.“ She shot back, glaring at Lincoln. “Shut up, you know what I mean. You two, not so natural.”
“OK seriously, did this conversation have to happen, ever.” Michael said.
“I concur.” Aldo added.
The group turned to see the celebrant standing near her car, she held a folder in her hand and smiled back at them.
“Oh my god, I don’t believe it.” Lincoln replied. He stepped forward, and embraced the woman. “Its good to see you again.”
“Its good to see you too Lincoln. Can I just say, the last time I saw you, well I had no idea that I would be the one marrying you to another man.”
Lincoln shook his head, but smiled anyway. “Well a lot has happened since the last time I saw you. And can I just say, I wasn’t expecting you.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I know, you were expecting Clare, but when I saw who it was she was supposed to be marrying today, I actually managed to convince her to let me take over.”
“Well I’m glad that you did.”
Sara took a few steps closer, standing beside Lincoln. “It has been awhile. How have you been Jane?”
“I can’t complain.” She replied. She glanced around at the others. “I see that you don’t have anything to complain about either. I’m glad that you’re all alright.”
She moved up beside LJ, and placed her hand on his shoulder. “Hello LJ, I heard that you were a father now.”
He looked over at Aldo who was standing there holding Liam. “Yeah, he’ll be two in a couple of months.”
“He’s adorable.” she smiled back at him, before turning to look again at Lincoln. “And you two have a daughter, Lorelei is it?”
Lincoln nodded back. “Yeah, she’s around the same age as Liam.”
“Ok, we’re gonna have plenty of time to catch up, but right now, how about we get you two married. I’ve heard the wait has been long enough.”
“That it has.”
“I need to know something James, and I swear to god if you don’t tell me the truth…” She dropped the bandages on the table and took a step back. “I won’t help you.”
He cringed when a sharp pain shot through his body and he reached out, grabbing her hand. “You won’t do that, your job is to help people.”
“I won’t help you, I swear that I won’t, not unless you tell me the truth.”
He drew in a deep breath and collapsed back against the table. “Its my job as well.”
Sara studied him for a moment, wondering what he meant by that.
“Your job is to help people, so is mine.” He explained.
She angrily shook her head. She knew what he was doing, stalling, making excuses.
“Who are you helping?” She questioned him. “What are you doing here James.”
“You really want to know what’s going on?”
“Yes.” she shot back. “Why the hell won’t you just give me a damn answer, a straight one.”
He shifted again, sitting up, his hand clutching at the bullet wound.
“Its her, why I’m here. I guess in my mission to protect her, I got caught up with the wrong people, hence the bullet still stuck in me.”
“I still have no idea what you’re talking about, who’s her?” She demanded to know.
Sara’s eyes went wide. “What are you… why do you need to protect her?”
“Because it turns out that Lisa Rix wasn’t exactly truthful, someone is after that little girl, but I’m going to do whatever I have to, to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
CHAPTER THIRTY SIX
Jane shook her head as the two walked along the side of the room. She still couldn’t believe everything that had happened in the years since she had last seen him.
“I would never have guessed this Linc.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah well, can’t say that I was expecting it myself. I mean I knew that I was gay, that wasn’t a shock, but with him, we’ve been together for so long, would be weird if he wasn’t here.”
“Well I’m happy for you Lincoln. You deserve it.” She shifted her folder from one hand to the other while they kept walking. “How long has it been?”
“Uh it’s been nearly five years.” He told her.
“So what took you so long to get to this point?”
He turned to look at her. “Are you kidding me? It hasn’t really stopped, it’s just been one thing after another. Chance Woods, moving away from Chicago, my son becoming a father, me becoming a father again. I don’t know that we’ve ever really had a chance to just sit back and breathe.”
“Well maybe that will change now.” She pointed out. “Who knows right.”
They made their way to the front where Aldo, Christopher and Michael were standing.
“So do we know much longer it’s going to be?” Christopher inquired.
“Why, you want to get out of here as quickly as possible, run away from the gay wedding?” Lincoln looked over at him and smiled, Christopher simply shook his head.
“You sure you really want to be a part of this family?” Aldo asked, patting Christopher on the back.
“I’m sure that there is nothing that I can do about that now. Wild dogs couldn’t drag my son from Lincoln.”
“I think wild dogs have tried. No wait that was Gretch.” Lincoln said with a laugh.
“Screw you Burrows, I heard that.”
Gretchen walked up behind them and punched Lincoln on the arm, he shook his head and rubbed his shoulder where she hit him.
“Stuart will be ready in a minute.”
“Clothing crises.” Lincoln chuckled.
“Actually yes, but Jess’ not his.”
“Ok, how did this even happen?”
“I don’t know.” Jess answered. She spun around, trying to see where her dress had ripped, while Sara and Nika were trying to hold her still to fix it.
“Did you bring another one with you?”
Jess glanced down at her and shook her head. “No, because I never anticipated ripping my dress in half.”
“So what are we going to do about this?” Nika asked.
Sara drew in a deep breath. “Ok, step back.”
She partially stood up and grabbed the hem of the dress and ripped it all the way around.
“Oh my god, what are you doing?”
She stood up and held the fabric in her hand, “Ok, so it might be a little shorter than you wanted, but it looks alright.”
The dress which had sat at calf length just moments ago, was now sitting just above her knees.
They all turned to look at her, and she shrugged her shoulders. “I know it’s not perfect, but what other option do we have?”
“How’s it going in here?”
Lincoln pushed open the door and stepped into the room. He saw Jess standing on a stool, while Sara and Nika stood around her, Stuart was leaning against the doorway on the other side of the room, a frustrated, confused look etched across his face.
He glanced over at Lincoln and shook his head. “Apparently and there is no need for any smartass remarks thank you very much.”
“Take all the fun out of it why don’t you.”
“Ok, its fine, I’m fine as is.” Jess announced. “Let’s get you two married.”
The group made their way back out into the main hall, where Jane was waiting for them. Aldo, Christopher and Gretchen were trying to wrangle the kids together and eventually got them settled in the seats.
Lincoln and Stuart had written their own vows, and the others knew that they would be far from traditional, and they couldn’t have gone further from that if they tried. Then again it wouldn’t have been the same if they didn’t act exactly like themselves.
“When I first met you, I think I might have strongly disliked you, you were stubborn and annoying but that all changed when you threw yourself at me in the living room that day.” Stuart said, a huge grin playing at the corners of his mouth.
“I’m sorry but I have to interrupt you there, it was you who did the throwing.” Lincoln answered.
Stuart shrugged his shoulders and glanced over to where his father sat and laughed at the expression on the man’s face. “Ok, well however it happened, right then I knew that I was in trouble, because you’re crazy. But those crazy things that have happened, well I wouldn’t change them for anything. Throwing myself at you, gave me this life, it gave me Lorelei and it gave me you.”
The two shared a coy smile before continuing with their less than traditional vows.
“You drive me crazy most of the time, but you also know how to make me laugh, whether that’s with you or at you.” He smiled at him again. “But, when I see you with our daughter, I know it’s all been worth it. So, you make me crazy, but I love you for it.”
Michael who stood next to his brother, handed over the rings, and they repeated a short verse from Jane before placing the rings on each other’s hands.
When Jane announced that they were now married, LJ leapt up and shoved the camera right in their faces.
“Was that necessary?” Lincoln glared at his son.
“Well we do need to capture the moment.” He grinned back.
Shaking his head he turned his attention back to Stuart. “So it’s Mr. Tyler-Burrows now right?”
Stuart smiled back at him and nodded. “Yeah, it definitely has a ring to it.”
Lincoln shook his head and leant forward, capturing Stuart’s mouth with his.
“You know what, I think that we should just leave now.” Lincoln grinned at him.
“Yeah, I bet that you do but your plans are gonna have to wait.” He answered.
They turned to face the others, were Sara and Michael were waiting to hug them.
“Congratulations Linc.” Sara whispered to him as he pulled her into an embrace. “You deserve this.”
“Thank you Sara.”
Lincoln turned back to his husband and slipped his arm around his waist and pulled him closer, pressing a kiss to his cheek.
As the others made their way towards the door to head to the restaurant, Stuart reached out and grabbed Lincoln’s hand, pulling him back to him.
“I love you, you know that right.”
“I figured as much.” Lincoln replied. “You know with the getting married.”
He caught his husband’s mouth with his own, his hands cupping his cheeks.
“OK, well maybe I should have put it this way. I’m in love with you, crazily, cos that seems to be our word of the day, but it’s true, and I can’t wait until the moment we can leave that stupid restaurant and get the hell out of here.”
“See I told you, leaving right now would be a good idea.” Lincoln grinned at him. “But they’re waiting for us, we better go.”
Stuart grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the door, “The sooner we get there, the sooner we can leave.”
For some reason it's been really difficult to post chapters lately and also when I click on the home button or to read any reviews, it comes up with an error screen, oh well I did manage to successfully post the chapter, so that's something at least.
And if you're still reading, thanks I appreciate it.
CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN
Lincoln and Stuart sat in the back of the car, watching as everyone else made their way into the restaurant. They smiled to themselves and each other as Michael and Sara dealt with the kids.
“You know that we should get in there.” Stuart said after a few minutes of silence. He reached over, placing his hand on Lincoln’s thigh and leant closer pressing a kiss to his lips.
“No we shouldn’t.”
Stuart raised his hand, pressing his palm against the other man’s neck and kissed him again. “Inside, now, before we can’t.”
Lincoln mumbled something against his mouth and then leant back and began to laugh. “You didn’t catch a word of that did you?”
Stuart sat back against the seat and shook his head. “Not a single word.”
“OK, well maybe you should just forget it then, we really should go inside.”
He shuffled across the seat and reached out for the door handle, but before he actually opened it, he turned back to Stuart, leant so close that Stuart could feel his warm breath on his cheek and whispered something in his ear before he climbed out of the car.
“That is not fair.” Stuart called after him. “Damn you Lincoln Burrows.”
Inside the restaurant, Sara and Michael were busy with the kids, while the others greeted the newlyweds before ushering them over to the tables to be seated.
Lincoln pushed his chair closer to Stuart’s and placed his hand on the back of his neck, tracing a small line with his thumb. Stuart tilted his head slightly and gave him a smile.
Lincoln nodded back. “Yeah it was.”
10 minutes later they started the meal before Gretchen decided she was going to give an impromptu speech.
“OK, I just have to say, that this is not only a first for them, it’s a first me as well, the first time I’ve seen two guys get married, and thankfully Linc and Stu didn’t disappoint on the weird front.” She turned to look at them and shook her head. “What the hell was up with those vows?”
Stuart shrugged his shoulders and then laughed. “Weird right.”
“You can say that again.” She answered. “But I guess it wouldn’t have been your wedding without it. Anyway, as crazy as you make me, I love you both and no other gay wedding will ever match up to this one.”
“Thanks for that Gretchen.” Lincoln said. “Especially the gay wedding part, nicely put.”
She raised her glass and winked at him. “You’re welcome.”
Michael walked over, carrying Lorelei and he handed her to Lincoln. “Congratulations again Linc.”
“You two taking of now?”
“I think so, you know before something else happens and we end up staying for another two hours.”
Lincoln gave his sleeping daughter a kiss on the cheek and then handed her over to Christopher who assured him that everything would be fine.
Lincoln patted his son on the shoulder and the two shared a smile before he left the table, finding Sara and Stuart standing near the front doors.
“Yeah, I think it’s about time we got out of here.” Lincoln said, winking at Stuart who stood just behind Sara.
“We should probably get the kids home anyway.” She answered. She pulled Lincoln into another embrace and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “And don’t worry about Lore, she’s in good hands, as I expect you hope to be tonight.”
Lincoln took a step back and rolled his eyes. “I expected that sort of thing from Gretch, probably Paul, but you?”
She shrugged her shoulders and gave him a sly smile. “Hey, I totally blame it on you, we’ve been around each other for far too long.”
A moment later, she turned her attention to Stuart, giving him a quick hug before pushing him towards the door. “We’ll see you guys in a couple of days.”
Sara waited until they had left and then she made her way over to Michael who was sitting next to the stroller where Caleb was fast asleep. She leant over, resting her head on his shoulder and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
“I’m so happy for them Michael. Everything both of them ever wanted, and it all happened today.”
“I know, and I think that just maybe they’ll be alright.”
Lincoln collapsed on the bed and tried to kick of his shoes, but he was exhausted after the day’s events. They were supposed to have left the restaurant nearly 3 hours earlier, but of course they kept getting pulled back into the festivities and they weren’t able to leave.
Stuart walked into the bedroom and threw his coat across the back of the chair near the window. He turned to look at Lincoln, but didn’t say anything, instead he removed his tie, dropping it on the floor at his feet, he didn’t really care about being tidy right now. He took a few steps closer to the bed and kicked of his shoes.
Untucking his shirt, he started to undo the buttons, but he stopped, watching as Lincoln sat up and moved to the end of the bed, he reached out, placing his hands over Stuart’s and dropped them his side before reaching back up and he finished unbuttoning the man’s shirt.
Standing up, he pushed the shirt over his shoulders, down his arms and let the offending fabric fall to the floor.
Lowering himself, he pressed a trail of kisses down Stuart’s stomach, until he was kneeling on the floor, his fingers grasping at the button and zipper.
“Don’t say anything.” He responded. “Just shut up and let me fuck you.”
Stuart squeezed his eyes shut as he felt Lincoln grab the band of his black dress pants and pulled them down. Stepping out of them, he pushed them aside before circling his fingers around his husband’s shaft and took him into his mouth.
Stuart sucked in a sharp breath as he felt Lincoln’s fingers digging into his waist, quickly his palm was pressed flat against the small of his back as he pulled him closer.
“Damn it Linc, see what you fucking well do to me.” He placed his hand on Linc’s shoulder, the tips of his fingers digging into his skin.
Several moments passed before Stuart leant forward, both hands pressed flat on the bed. Lincoln stood behind him, unbuttoning his pants, disappearing out of the room for minute before he returned, the box of condoms and lube in his hands. He placed them down onto the bed and removed his pants.
Turning back to Stuart, he rested his hand on his waist, pushing him onto his knees, his forearms resting on the end of the bed.
“Linc.” Stuart moaned through his still unsteady breath.
But he didn’t say anything, instead he knelt down behind him, one hand pressed against his shoulder, he snaked his right arm around the other man’s waist, his fingers trailing a line down his stomach until his fingers once again grasped his partner’s semi hard cock.
Pushing himself against him, Stuart could feel Lincoln’s hardness brushing against his thigh and he tilted his head back.
Lincoln started stroking him and Stu felt a shiver run down his spine as his heart started racing at the contact.
Lincoln dropped his head, running his tongue across the other mans collar bone and Stuart pushed himself further back against him.
“Linc god damn it.”
Leaning forward, he grabbed the items from the bed, producing a small foil packet from the box he ripped it open, sheathing himself before he grabbed the lube preparing his husband to take him.
He grabbed Stuart’s shoulder, pulling him away from the bed until his man was on all fours, one hand on his hip, he guided himself into him.
Stuart drew in a sharp breath as he felt Lincoln increase his pace and supporting his weight on one arm, he grasped himself in his hand and began to stroke.
Lincoln exhaled a deep moan raking his nails down Stuart’s back.
Sara pulled the door shut and made her way downstairs. She carried the baby monitor with her. She found Michael sitting in the living room with a cup of coffee.
“Did they go down alright?” He asked her.
She placed the monitor on the cushion next to him and nodded. Slipping her arm around him from behind, she pressed a kiss to his temple. “They’ll be fine.”
“Are you going to stay up for awhile?”
“Probably, not really ready to go to sleep yet, besides, Paul and Gretchen are in the kitchen.”
Michael glanced towards the kitchen door. “I didn’t even hear them, how did you?”
She didn’t say anything, she just smiled at him before she started walking towards the door.
“You know it’s too bad that they’re here, I had other things in mind.”
“And those things will keep Scofield.” She flashed him another smile before disappearing out of the room.
“So.” She said as she took a seat next to Gretchen. “You two just gonna sit here all night? Where’s the better halves of you?”
“Asleep.” The both replied.
She nodded slightly to herself. “OK then. So where is everyone else?”
CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT
Lincoln fell back against the pillow and tucked his arm up under his head. Closing his eyes for just a moment, he felt the weight of the mattress shift as Stuart lay next to him and his hand brushed across his stomach.
“What’s the time?” He mumbled softly.
Lincoln tilted his head to the right and only just saw the alarm clock on the nightstand. “Just after 2am.”
Stuart sighed heavily, he was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, only another 5 hours, he would have been awake for almost 24, just the thought made him even more exhausted.
“I’m sleeping now, so don’t disturb me.” Stuart told him.
“Is that right?” Lincoln answered. “By the way, you are already disturbed.” A smile played at the corners of his mouth. “I couldn’t resist.”
“Yeah, I remember.” Stuart replied. “That’s why I kinda need to sleep.”
“Ha.” Lincoln retorted. “You weren’t the one who did all the work.”
Stuart propped himself up on one elbow and glared at his husband. “Really, that’s not how I remember it.”
“Well you’re delusional, it explains everything.”
With his free hand, Stuart traced a line down Lincoln’s stomach, hooking his fingers under the elastic of his boxer shorts.
“I thought that you wanted to sleep?” Lincoln asked, raising an eyebrow at him.
Stuart shrugged his shoulders. “Well that had been the plan, so if I drop dead from exhaustion, it will be your fault.” He shifted down the bed, trying to find a comfortable spot to lie in. “Are you serious?”
“You’re the one doing it to me, what the fuck did you think was going to happen?”
“Well who would have guessed that five hours still wouldn’t wear you out.” Stuart told him.
“Are you serious?” Lincoln scoffed.
Stuart sat up and straddled him, placing one leg on either side of him, he leant forward, his hands resting on the mattress under Lincoln’s head. “Yeah well, shouldn’t have mentioned anything right.”
“Right.” Lincoln said, nodding slightly. “So how about you shut up now.”
Stuart shook his head and leant down, capturing Lincoln’s mouth in a deep kiss.
“OK, well seeing as we’re here, there is something that I wanted to talk to you two about.”
“Why doesn’t that sound like a happy thing?” Paul answered.
“Because it’s not.” Sara replied. “Two days before the wedding, James showed up.”
“Son of bitch.” Gretchen cried out, slapping her hand down onto the table.
“My thoughts exactly, but the thing is, he was injured, a gunshot wound to the abdomen.”
“Are you serious?”
Sara nodded her answer. “So, LJ and I took him to the hospital, he’s going to be ok, but the whole situation was just plain weird.”
“What isn’t when it involves him.”
“Yeah, but that’s not all. He said that he was here to protect her, as in Lorelei.”
Paul studied her for a moment, wondering what she meant by that. “He’s protecting Lorelei?”
“He wouldn’t say why, he was being incredibly evasive and wouldn’t answer a damn thing. But I should be worried right? We all should be?”
Paul shook his head. “No, you shouldn’t. I’m going to sort it out.”
The three of them glanced towards the kitchen door and saw LJ standing there, his arms folded across his chest.
“You wanna make a noise next time.” Gretchen glared at him.
LJ just shrugged his shoulders and made his way into the room, taking a seat next to Paul.
“We were just talking about the James situation.” Sara explained.
“Which is being taken care of, so you don’t need to worry about it.” Paul added.
“I wasn’t worrying about it.” LJ answered. “Other things to think about.”
“OK wait, why don’t we need to worry about it?” Gretchen asked Paul.
Paul turned to look at her. “Does it matter?”
“You know that it does.” Sara added. “We don’t need to have any more attention drawn to us.”
Paul raised an eyebrow at her. “What the hell do you think I’m going to do to him?”
“Yeah that might be the scary part.” Gretchen replied.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll go and see him tomorrow and just talk to him.”
“As long as that is all it is.”
Paul stood at the nurse’s desk, watching as she fumbled around with the patient files.
“I’m sorry Sir, but I’m telling you that we don’t have a patient here by that name.”
She sighed heavily and glanced back down at the files. Paul was starting to lose his patience.
“Try Gary Miller.”
She looked back at him and frowned slightly. “I’m sorry, but who are you, I can’t really give you this information.”
Anger flashing in his eyes, he reached into his pocket and produced his badge. “Does that help? Special Agent Paul Kellerman, now can you just damn well give the information.”
“Sorry Sir.” She picked up a file and quickly read through it. “We have a Gary Miller in room 211.”
Paul didn’t say anything, he pushed away from the desk and headed down the hall.
Several minutes later, he stood outside of the room, glancing in through the small glass window, he saw James lying there.
He couldn’t work out what was going on, he didn’t even know where to begin as to why the man was there.
Pushing open the door he stepped into the room and causally walked over to the bed. James stirred lightly but didn’t wake.
Paul folded his arms across his chest and cleared his throat. “I’m not going to stand here all day James, I know you can hear me.”
A few minutes passed before James opened his eyes, glancing over at Paul he drew in a deep breath.
“What are you doing here?”
“I want to know the exact same thing, what the hell are you doing here James, because they really don’t need any shit from you.” She shot back.
“I’m not here to cause any shit.” He answered. “I’m doing my job alright.”
Paul wasn’t buying any of it, he’d known James for awhile now and knew what he was capable of.
“Why don’t you tell me the real reason.”
“It is the real reason.” He tried to sit up, but the bullet wound in his stomach wasn’t allowing for much movement. “My job was to come here and make sure that nothing happens to her.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean, make sure nothing happens to who?”
Paul’s eyes widened at what he just said. “What has… what about her?”
“I can only tell you so much here Paul, I hope you can respect that, but there has been a threat against Lorelei’s life.”
Paul laughed, it was either that, or he would end up strangling the guy. “I’m going to need more than that.”
“The person who hired me received several letters wanting money or else they would come after Lorelei.” He explained. “I can’t tell who it is, we don’t know, and I can’t tell you who hired me either.”
“I’m not buying it. How the hell did you get shot?”
“Wrong place, wrong time. I was doing what I needed to do, asking questions, apparently from the wrong people, they didn’t take too kindly to me being there and they did something about it. I didn’t want her to bring me here.”
“Then why the hell did you do it, you didn’t need to involve her.” He retorted. “None of them deserve this.”
“I know that they don’t, and I didn’t have any other choice, it’s not like I could go to the police.”
“They why the hell didn’t you… I can’t believe that I’m saying this, but why didn’t you come to me, you really shouldn’t have involved Sara.”
Paul took a step closer and leant forward, pressing his hand against the wound in James’ stomach and he cried out in pain.
“You come near them again, this is going to be the least of your problems, do you hear me.”
CHAPTER THIRTY NINE
“Where the hell is her bag?”
Lincoln moved over to the bottom of the stairs and peered up towards the second floor landing.
“Stuart, we don’t have all day you know.”
Several minutes later Stuart appeared at the top of the stairs with the bag slung over his shoulder. “Would you calm down, we have enough time.”
“No we don’t, hence all the yelling. Jess is expecting us over there in about 20 minutes.”
“Are you sure that she’s really alright with this?” Stuart asked him.
Lincoln nodded back. “Yeah, she’ll be fine. Who wouldn’t want to look after a 2 year old and a 1 one year old, it will be awesome.”
Stuart shook his head at his husband and handed him the bag with Lorelei’s clothes in it. “Fine but when she has her nervous breakdown, totally your fault.”
“Are you trying to imply that our daughter is too much to handle?”
Lincoln nodded back at him. “Yes she is, especially when she is around her cousins.”
“Ok, you might have a point there.” Stuart replied. He grabbed the keys from the counter and moved towards the door.
“Uh, aren’t you forgetting one very important thing.” Lincoln pointed out.
Stuart sighed and turned around. “And what would that be?”
“Ha oh right.” Stuart chuckled to himself. “Be back in a minute.”
Jess held the door open and Lincoln and Stuart walked in. Lincoln dropped the bag onto the counter while Stuart carried Lorelei into the living room.
“Jess you gonna be alright here?”
“Would you stop doing that, I’ll be fine, I have done this before.” She laughed.
“I know that you have, but still.”
“But still nothing.” She answered. “Hand over the girl and get the hell out of here.”
Stuart handed Lorelei to her Aunt and pressed a kiss to the 2 years old cheek. “You be good for Aunt Jess.”
He ruffled her hair with his hand. “Yeah kiddo that’s right.”
Stuart and Linc headed back towards the door.
“We’ll be back in about 3 hours.”
Jess nodded at them, “That’s fine.” She then turned her attention to the two toddlers sitting on the floor. “Have fun guys.”
Sitting down on the floor with the container of blocks she tipped them out, picking one up she passed it over to Riley who instantly started chewing on it.
“That’s my boy.” She laughed. “You want to build something Lore?”
The two year old stood up and helped Jess to pile the blocks on top of each other, when she was satisfied that there were enough, she proceeded to knock them all over.
“See your daddy is crazy, we’re gonna be just fine.”
“Put it down.”
Lincoln spun around and saw Stuart standing in the doorway. “I wasn’t doing anything.”
“Yes you were. You were about to call Jess.”
“Yeah well forgive me for being a little worried.”
Stuart walked over and pulled a seat out from the counter. “You worry maybe a little too much.”
“I thought that you guys had plans?”
Sara walked into the kitchen carrying Caleb on her hip.
“So those plans were to stand here arguing over whether or not you should call Jess?” She wondered.
“No.” Lincoln shot back. “We’re leaving in a few minutes.”
“Ok what were your plans again?” She laughed. “And why didn’t you ask me to watch Lore?”
“Well naturally we thought of you, but Jess offered.” Stuart told her.
“And I’m sure that she’s fine, you really should try and worry less I think that’s what’s causing those lines or are they wrinkles there.” She laughed again.
“What?” Stuart cried out.
“Ok I think it’s time to go.”
Jess placed her son’s bottle down onto the coffee table and stood up. The doorbell echoed through the room, whoever was on the other side of the door, obviously had zero patience.
Reaching out for the handle, she pulled the door open and saw a man standing there, he was a complete stranger to her and she narrowed her eyes at him.
“Can I help?”
He stepped forward, his hands held behind his back. “Yes, I think that you can. Jess right?”
She studied him, she really couldn’t work him out and the truth was he scared her.
“Who are you?”
“I’m sorry that was rude of me, I work with your husband, my name is Curtis.”
“I’ve never heard him mention you before.”
He raised his hand to his chest. “I’m a little hurt by that, but I will forgive him.” He paused for a moment. “Paul wouldn’t happen to be here right now would he?”
Jess glanced over her shoulder to where the kids were still sitting on the floor. “I uh… no he’s not right now, and if you don’t mind, I’m a little busy.”
“Well perhaps I could wait for him. I have something rather urgent to discuss with him.”
Jess tried to close the door. “I don’t think so.”
Curtis stuck his foot in the way to block her from closing the door. “I really would like to wait.”
“And I want you to leave.” She retorted.
He shoved against the door causing Jess to stumble backwards. “That won’t work for me.”
Managing to push his way inside, he slammed the door shut and Jess didn’t think twice before regaining her balance and rushing over to the kids. She leant down and picked Riley up before standing in front of Lorelei.
“Wow, she must be at least 2 years old by now right.”
Jess swallowed the lump that formed in her throat and glanced down at Lorelei. “What the hell do you want?”
Curtis took a few steps forward and pointed to the little girl who was oblivious to what was going on. “Actually she is what I came for.”
“Lincoln’s daughter right.”
“Who the hell are you?” She shouted at him.
“I already told you, my name is Curtis.” He reached behind him and pulled a gun from the band of his jeans and held it at his side.
Jess’ eyes went wide and she froze. All she could think about was how she had promised to protect Lorelei, how she had reassured Lincoln and Stuart that they would be fine, and now here was a man who was coming after the one thing she vowed to do.
She was trapped and there would be no going back.