From Changes, Again - Chapter 1 The Party. This is the first story i've written where i've brought back characters. It was from something @droughtquake mentioned at the end of Changes. I thank him for it made me think and i decided there was a story there. Posting will begin mid-January. I hope you enjoy...
Rena and Robert arrived first. Never ones to arrive empty handed, they brought a glorious bunch of tulips—in purple, soft violet and white—and nice ready-chilled wine. We settled in the living room with a glass of the sweet white.
I was feeling good and just wanted to drink enough to feel happy and mellow. We had sipped our way through our first glasses, when Robert spoke up.
"Um, hope you don't mind but I really need a word with Don. I'd like to before we get too happy and before dinner. I can smell those potatoes, Louis."
I looked at Don who replied with a tight-lipped smile. Okay, so you're saying nothing. Rena wasn't giving up anything either.
"Sure, you two go over to the office and I'll set the table and stuff, but when Harry and Gareth arrive, I'll send them to fetch you."
"Don't mind them, Louis. I'll help you." Rena got up and put her arm through mine. I smiled at her. We picked up empty wine glasses and followed Robert and Don.
Don rolled forward toward the kitchen. The door there was closest to his office. "We'll likely be back before then. Don't worry, babe. We'll have a good time tonight."
Not wanting to ruin the mood, I bent and kissed him. "You two go. It's fine, Donny."
Robert patted my shoulder and then grabbed the handles on Don's chair. "Don's right. We won't be long."
After the door closed, I turned to Rena. "Do you know what's going on?"
"I don't. Frankly, Robert's been quiet this afternoon. I asked if everything was okay, and he said it was. Just that he needed to get something important at work resolved, sooner rather than later."
I pulled a deep violet and white checked tablecloth out of the bottom drawer in the kitchen island, and put it on the table. Atop that, I put Rena and Robert's flowers; it felt like spring.
As we adjusted the cloth and laid out the tableware, Rena asked, "How is the birthday trip plan going?"
"Pretty good. I was thinking Sonoma County in California, it's supposed to be wheelchair friendly. Lots of things to do, including tasting lots of wine, and lots of sunshine."
"That sounds lovely, but you know Don will go wherever you want to go."
"I know, but I wanted us both to relax, and being wheelchair friendly just took away one worry."
"Well, if you want to go to Sonoma County, you do that." Rena smoothed a corner of the tablecloth. "The table is beautiful."
I checked the potatoes, which were nearly done. I'd just turned down the oven when the doorbell rang. I smiled at Rena and walked to the front door.
Gareth and Harry stood there together, grinning like schoolboys. Harry was in his early fifties now, but still as gorgeous and sexy as he always had been. Gareth was my age, cute in a young Jeffrey Dean Morgan sort of way; always with a warm smile. Each of them carried a bottle of wine.
"Come on in. It's good to see you guys."
Gareth hugged me first. "You look great, Louis! Where is that sexy man of yours?"
"Out in the office with Robert. They'll be back shortly."
Harry was next. He released me after a warm hug and said, "You want me to go and get them?"
"No … you two come in. I'll go out there," Rena said, as she joined us, greeting Harry and Gareth with a hug. "I'll run out there now." She returned to the kitchen and went out the back door.
Harry took Gareth's bottle and handed both to me, the Cabernet Sauvignon was a magnum. "As usual, we couldn't choose between red or white, so we brought both!"
"Thank you. I'll put them in the kitchen. Do you want a drink?" I said over my shoulder as I walked.
"Harry, sit down, I'll help Louis." After giving his husband a peck and a pat, Gareth joined me. He picked up the corkscrew and started to open the red. "This is Harry's favourite."
I poured a glass of white for Rena, one for myself, and for Gareth. "It's a generous gift, thanks. Will you pour one for Robert and Don as well please?"
"Sure." Gareth did as asked. "How are you Louis? Seems like forever since we've seen you two."
"We're good, thanks. You both look like you are as well."
Gareth picked up the glass of white I'd passed him. "We are. Harry and I are just back from New York. He was there for a publisher's conference. I was able to get time off to go with him."
"Hey! I'm lonely out here!" Harry called from the living room. "And worse, I'm thirsty."
Gareth and I laughed. "You take your man his wine, and I'll pop the hors d'oeuvres in the oven to heat up."
"Thanks." Gareth picked up his husband's wine and glanced out the window. "It appears yours is on his way in too. See you in the living room."
I glanced out. "Finally. Then we can get this party started!" I put the tray of small pastries in the oven to heat.
Though I was curious as to what was going on, I just wanted to enjoy our get-together, so I shoved my questions to the back of my mind. It could be nothing, but frankly it felt like a huge secret.
The backdoor opened and the three of them came into the kitchen. I handed Rena and Robert glasses of wine, and they continued on through to the living room.
Don smiled. "I'll go out in a bit and start the barbeque. Something smells good. Do you need my help in here?"
"There's a glass of wine there for you. I'll bring it. Can you carry these plates and napkins?"
"Sure, Lous." He took the small plates and napkins and put them on his knees, and rolled out to the living room.
I followed with our wine. Don had put the napkins and plates on the coffee table. "Here's your wine, Don. Harry brought that excellent Cabernet you like."
Don sipped. "Mmmm, yeah this is nice. Thanks, Harry. Thanks for coming everyone! Now, if you don't mind I have a quick speech to make."
We all groaned; Donny's speeches were rarely short.
He eyed each of us. "No groaning. I can smell food, so that means I have to hurry. Now, as you know it is my beautiful husband's birthday in a few weeks. As we'll be away, I thought we could wish him an early Happy Birthday today."
I wasn't prepared for this and nearly slid off my perch on the arm of our sofa. Five faces turned to me, each of them smiling. Then a chorus of Happy Birthday rang out.
Once they’d finished, we were all laughing, and I appealed for quiet. "You guys … wow, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Now, I better get those canapes out or they will be burnt!"
Practically running into the kitchen to escape, I leaned on the counter to breathe. Relief coursed through me. They'd just been planning this little celebration of my birthday. Worrying over nothing again, Louis.