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About Bndmetl

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  1. Bndmetl

    Chapter 23

    OMG, I'm so sorry James. Maybe one day you can tell us all your favorite memories of your son. We'd love to hear about him.
  2. Bndmetl

    Chapter 23

    We love you Wes, and no one more than me is happier to see you coming back into your own. Luv ya, Sunshine. And we all love JAM and crew.
  3. Great chapter, loved it. I can't wait to read more, more, more. I've missed Jaimie and Ben, and especially Lucas. Can I have him, please?
  4. Bndmetl

    Chapter 18

    You're not alone there, sometimes people surprise the hell out of me; and not in a good way. But then again, good people do bad things, and bad people are capable of evil.
  5. Bndmetl

    Chapter 47

    What a difference seven years can make! “Happy Birthday!” my dads scream down the phone. I laughed; they have done this every single year since I moved out. Calling me almost every couple of hours, screaming birthday wishes down the phone. “Thanks!” “How does it feel to be a quarter of a century?” Papi asked me. The pitter-patter of little feet coming down the hallway caught my attention. I swiveled in my office chair, just in time to see a giggling four-year-old boy covered in bubbles run by. Not even two seconds later, another one. But, this little one is dragging a towel behind him. His cute little grinning face looking back over his shoulder; he squealed and runoff. Next to come is a saturated Liam. I got a glimpse of him as he skipped by the door after the boys, laughing. He still takes my breath away. Liam came back standing in the doorway and shrugged his shoulders at me. Something must have caught his attention because he quickly moved in the direction of the boys. All I heard was Liam, “Luke, no buddy,” he admonished, then stomped past the door with one of our babies under each arm. I couldn’t help but laugh at my crazy family. “WILL!” Dad and Papi screamed in unison. “Huh? Yeah! Sorry, Luke and Levi escaped the bath again,” I laughed down the phone. “The rascals, they definitely take after you, Will,” Papi said. “Ha! Yeah, right. More like Dad,” I scoffed. In our freshman year of college, my cousin Beth offered to harvest some of her eggs for us. The short story, after a lot of back and forth on the decision, we accepted. After that, we found a surrogate, a home for some of Liam’s little soldiers with Beth’s eggs, and we were on our way. We were warned of the statistics, it might not work, multiple births, that type of thing. Well, they were right on both counts. The first try didn’t work, after a little heartbreak and disappointment, we tried again. One egg, identical twins – go figure. Our next struggle was to give them names; I thought we would end up divorced over that, thinking back over the arguments. It was all pretty ridiculous. But you can’t blame me. Liam wanted to name one of our babies, Atticus – uh-uh not happening. I wanted Luke William after my Uncle Luke, William for Papi, and Liam’s Dad. Liam thought since I had Luke, he would go with Lee, but that would get confusing, so we went with Levi John. Technically he’s named after Lee but without the confusion as well as my dad - John. “Papi, Papi,” Levi run into the office, squealing; I put the phone between my neck and shoulder, picking him up and setting him on my lap. He still had the towel in his hand, so I whipped it up and around him then pulled him into my chest. He had teary eyes. “What happened, little man?” I asked. He sniffled, it’s so hard not to laugh sometimes how drama-packed a four-year-old’s life can be, “Daddy is mad at me.” “I’ll see you both at the O’Rourkes in an hour. Levi’s having a crisis, gotta go,” I chuckled. “Okay, sweet boy, we’ll see you there.” Dad and Papi disconnected the call. I put my phone down on the desk. “Daddy isn’t mad at you,” I stood up with Levi hooked on my hip, “let’s get you dressed before you catch a cold, baby boy.” “Kay,” Levi said in a small voice, laying his head on my shoulder. As we walked back to the bedroom, I caressed Levi’s head, leaving a gentle kiss. He took the comfort as he snuggled deeper into my shoulder. “We have ourselves, two very tired little boys, do you think we should stay home,” I said to Liam while pulling some clothes out of the dresser for Levi. Our sons Luke and Levi, take after both us. They have my family’s blonde hair – thanks Beth – but Liam’s eyes, Luke is easy and laid back like Liam. Levi is exactly like me – so I am told. He’s very excitable and dramatic, he worries, it’s all or nothing, everything is about now. You can’t always reason with him. To Levi, the future doesn’t exist. It must be a family trait. They are cute as all get out, and we love them within an inch of their life. Nobody was more excited than Liam when they came into this world. He was such a helicopter dad for their first twelve months. Anytime someone held them, he was right there; it drove everyone crazy. He has managed to step back a bit now that they are a little older. Luke and Levi were born in August just before our twenty-first birthdays, Liam turned twenty-one in September, me in December. I finally relented and agreed to try for a baby before we finished college. I even caved and agreed to have a nanny until we finished school. But every spare moment and some not was spent with our boys. The number of times I attempted to study while feeding or changing a diaper or comforting a fussy little one still amazes me. We had babies because we wanted them. We spend all of our time together as a family. We don’t have a nanny anymore. The boys rarely ever have a sitter, unless it’s for a work thing either of us can’t get out of. Although they do go to daycare while we are at work. They start school next year, it’s going to suck having to leave them behind. You’d think I’d be used to it, but nope. We like to play with them, teach them, have our meals together, we do everything together. “No, babe. It’s your birthday, we can’t stay at home. And the boys aren’t tired. Levi woke up like this,” Liam said, giving me Luke in one arm, a quick kiss, then taking Levi and his clothes in the other. Levi fussed while Liam dried him off and dressed him. He lifted him off the bed, then peppered his face with kisses. Levi did that belly laugh that toddlers do, stopping immediately when we heard my brother's boots clomping up the stairs, then coming closer down the hallway. “Will, Liam, you up here,” came the familiar voice of our little brother Lee. I can’t believe he’s twenty-two years old. Even though he’s a man now, he is still my younger brother, and I always worry about him and what is happening in his life. Lee had forged his own path, our Dads and Liam’s Mom had done a remarkable job to make sure he knew Lee could be himself. That is who he became, a strong, confident man, utterly comfortable in his own skin. He is fantastic, talented, not to mention gorgeous. People adore him. “Muncle,” Levi cried out and wriggled until Liam put him down so he could get to his uncle. Luke just stayed on my hip as we walked out to meet Lee, who now had Levi attached to the front of him and was pretending to munch on his shoulder. Levi put a tiny hand on each side of Lee’s face, “Stop!” Levi said seriously. Lee just smirked at his nephew. Funny story; when the boys were first learning to talk, Luke had trouble saying ‘Uncle Lee.’ He kept calling him ‘Muncle.’ We worked out that Luke was trying to say ‘My Uncle,’ so ‘Muncle’ stuck and that’s who he is to the kids in the extended family, ‘Muncle.’ “Happy Birthday, Will!” He leaned over and gave me a one-armed hug. “You squishing me,” Levi called out, reminding us he was still there. Luke giggled from my hip, patting his brother not so gently on the head. “You guys ready?” Lee asked, then saw Liam and the state he was in and laughed. “Yeah, let me grab a quick shower.” Liam smirked, then looked down at himself, holding his arms out to the side, “I’m still in my work clothes – and drenched.” Liam and I both work for the William Sands Foundation full-time now that we have finished college and have our degrees. The Foundation was set up in honor of Liam’s Dad after he passed away. I am the Programs Director, Liam is the Training Director. Our personal offices, of course, are now separate, but we do try and have lunch together a couple of times a week. The Foundation has nearly one hundred and fifty employees now and is growing all the time. I find it hard to keep up with all the names sometimes. We have a small office in Washington, DC, and a smaller one down in Florida. The Foundation owns twenty-three profitable small businesses across the Capitol and two states. Those businesses employee teenagers from the foster system in the ‘Employment Skills Mentoring Program,’ which was our original program that started the Foundation and SAT Prep courses. We now charge for SAT Prep; anyone can participate when they pay, this funds the SAT Prep courses we run for anyone in the foster system who can use this service for free. That’s how the Foundation works, it has a profit side that funds the non-profit half with many programs tailored for children and young adults in the foster system. There’s a lot to it, and too much red tape and general rules to try and make it as fair as possible. We also have a panel that reviews applications for special admittance to the programs on a case by case basis. There are over nineteen programs in place right now, with three more in the works. <>-<>-<> We finally arrived at O’Rourkes Bar and Grill. Paddy owns the bar with his younger by one year, biological brother – Declan. Pat had been through a lot over the years being part of the foster system until being adopted at fifteen by Uncle Ian. When he was in his sophomore year, Declan started at our high school as a freshman. Pat had no idea he had any biological family. He and Declan were babies when their parents were killed in a wreck and were separated. It was a messy and emotional time for both families, but they all came through the other side a little bruised but closer than ever and happy. After Pat graduated high school, he got his undergrad in culinary arts, Declan did his in business management. By the time Declan graduated college Pat had been working in a restaurant downtown for a couple of years. Pat was frustrated and felt inhibited by the restaurant industry. Paddy is a true artist at heart and liked, needed even, to create; it’s who he is. ‘Peder’s Bar and Grill’ came up for sale, the two boys jumped in with both feet and now run O’Rourkes together. O’Rourke was the surname they were both born with; it seemed the perfect name for their business venture together. From what Dad says – their accountant – they are doing reasonably well. I’m so proud of Paddy; he’s never let his past hinder his future. Luke and Levi unsnapped their restraints and hopped out of the SUV, waiting for me to grab them. Lee jumped out the back door and picked up Levi. I grabbed Luke and Liam met us at the front of the SUV, sliding his arm around my waist as he leads us through the parking lot to the door. Liam let me go and opened, then held the door for Lee and me. The familiar smell of good food cooking, the jovial sounds of diners, Christmas decorations everywhere, even a little rowdiness in the bar section, with today's hits piping its way throughout gives the place a certain ambiance. An atmosphere I would equate to the excitement felt that leads up to the holidays. “Hey, guys,” Caitlin, Declan’s younger sister is their hostess, she’s working her way through college, and the brothers were only too happy to give her a job. “Everyone’s in your usual section, can’t miss ‘em.” The young woman smiled broadly, “Happy Birthday, Will,” she leaned over and kissed my cheek. “Thanks, Caitlin,” I answered, but I could feel a blush on my face. I hate it when people make a fuss over my birthday. Liam had kicked up a stink and laid down the law, it was my twenty-fifth birthday, and we are celebrating. Our twenty-firsts came and went in the blink of an eye because we were new Dads trying to settle into family life along with college. I’m not complaining, far from it, but according to Liam, this birthday is also a big one, so I gave in to make him happy. We’ve been together eight years, married seven, and it still feels like the first. I would do just about anything to ensure my husband is happy. Liam was giggling next to me, “What?” I asked him. He was looking at Lee, “You owe me twenty bucks.” “Fudge, I’ll get you in a minute,” Lee said with a kid-friendly curse. “Why?” I asked Liam, frowning, he shook his head at me. So, I narrowed my eyes at Lee. I knew he’d cave; I have perfected that glare since he was fourteen, works every time. “You’re blushing. Liam bet me if Caitlin kissed you for your birthday, you would blush,” Lee snickered. “I hate you both.” I moved forward. “Thank you, Caitlin. Join us for a drink when you can,” I told her and left my former husband and former brother to whatever it was they were doing. I could hear them laughing all the way to the bar area – jackasses. “Grandpapi! Down Papi,” Luke exclaimed excitedly as he jerked around, trying to get free. I looked to my left and saw my Dad and Papi standing with Mom and Mitch. Who, by the way, is getting married soon. Too weird. Mitch was about to become Liam’s step-father; he was once married to my mother – the devil spawn, and Mitch was my step-father? Ugh! It’s so hard to explain our family to others. Most of the time it gives me a headache, but I love each and every one of them. Papi was waving us over, so I put Luke on the floor, and he flew over to his grandparents. I am so thankful for my dads. They have made Liam and my life so much easier. They have supported every decision we have ever made, even when they weren’t happy about it, my dads would suck it up and still be our champions. I watched until dad had Luke in his arms, then I turned back to the bar to grab us some drinks, “Hey Declan, how’s it going?” Declan’s head popped up from what he was doing, “Hey, Will,” he said with a grin, “Happy Birthday!” leaning over the bar to give me a quick hug. “Thanks.” “Two whites, and a Corona?” he asked, ever the barman. “Yes, please, and a couple juices for the munchkins, please.” I flicked my head sideways to where Paddy was further down the bar. “How’s he doing?” Declan shrugged his shoulder. “Okay, I guess, he’s minute to minute,” he said sadly. “I wish Sasha had gone about everything differently. I understand that she wanted to focus on her career, but to completely turn her back on her family – cruel.” “Yup, he was good while she kept her distance. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Well, sort of. But you know what I mean. But in the last six months, she’s popped in a couple of times unannounced to see Pat but never spends any time with Finn. It kills him every time, and we start the process all over again.” Declan sighed, shrugging his shoulder. “I’m keeping my eye on him.” “Where is Finn?” I asked—cutest two-year-old boy in the world. I can say that because my boys aren’t that age. I still can’t believe that Sasha could leave her baby behind. But then again when she’d become pregnant in college, although untimely she never quite seemed excited to be having a baby. Where, on the other hand, Pat was over the moon. We both twisted to observe Paddy at the other end of the bar chatting with a patron. The guy was giving Pat a goofy smile. Every couple of seconds, his eyes would lustily stare right into Pat’s. Pat could do worse; the guy is kinda hot. A little too twinkish for my taste but otherwise, hot. “Uh… Declan? Does he have any idea that guy is flirting with him?” I asked worriedly. Declan chuckled, “Nope, no clue at all,” he said, shaking his head. “The guy comes in every couple of days, he keeps Pat talking as long as he can manage.” “Did you tell him?” “I did the first night. Pat told me I was reading into things and the guy is straight, so I left it. Now it’s just entertaining for me to watch.” Declan laughed. “He’s straight-up flirting is about as straight as that guy is,” I commented. I relaxed, leaning on the bar with my elbow and settled in for today’s episode. I felt a warmth settle behind me. “Does Pat know that guy is hitting on him?” Liam asked quietly into my ear. “Nope,” Declan said, setting our drinks on the bar. I pushed the twenty in front of me over to Declan. He rang up our drinks, giving me the change. The three of us stood, leaning against the bar watching this guy flirt with Pat as he stocked some alcohol bottles while they talked. “Thanks, brother, Levi’s with Mitch and Mom,” Lee said as he took his waiting beer. He swung his head in the direction we were all silently geared to. “Is that guy flirting with Pat?” “Yes,” we three answered at the same time, eyes glued to the train wreck. The guy leaned over the bar while saying something quietly to Pat. Pat threw his head back, laughing raucously. He leaned on the bar with his hand as the guy reached out and squeezed Pat’s forearm before he sat back down in his seat with a twinkle in his eye, raising his drink to his lips as he ogled Pat lasciviously. “Heineken thanks, Dec,” Uncle Adam said, throwing a ten-dollar note on the bar. “What are you… is that guy flirting with Pat?” “Shh!” the four of us exclaimed, still watching Pat. Declan opened the display fridge and grabbed out Adam’s beer, flipped off the lid then set it on the bar, his eyes not moving from the show. “He could do worse,” Adam said, staying to watch his son get hit on. Pat leaned down on the bar closely, then said something to the guy who was flirting with him. The twink chuckled then held up his glass, indicating he wanted another drink. Pat went about pouring the man another. We all quickly looked in different directions until he’d set the drink down, and they went back to talking. We were captivated by the interaction. How could Paddy not know this guy is flirting with him? “Hey, babe,” I heard Adam say from behind, then he and Uncle Ian kissed. “Declan, can I get a coke and an apple juice?” “What are you all look…” Uncle Ian trailed off, Declan grabbed their drinks. “What is wrong with all of you.” Uncle Ian said rhetorically, shoving Finn into Adam’s arms. He then gave each one of us – including his husband – a ‘Gibbs’ as he went by us toward Pat. He discreetly called over to Pat, “Paddy, Son.” Pat excused himself politely, moving closer to his dad while giving the rest of us a cocked eyebrow as if to say, ‘what are you staring at?’ Ian said something quietly to Pat, they both looked at the flirty customer. We saw the light bulb go on, then Pat waltzed back down the bar to the guy, “You know I’m straight, right?” “We’ll see,” the guy winked at Pat, stood up with his drink grinning from ear-to-ear, making his way to who I assume are his friends – raising his glass to us as he sat down with a smirk on his face. Cheeky bastard! Pat flipped us off lower than the bar top so customers couldn’t see. After we all had a laugh while Uncle Ian admonished us for not helping Pat. Why would he need help? He’s single, he didn’t look upset by it, plus, it was good entertainment. Uncle Ian shuffled us all into the dining area where the family was congregating. More hugs and happy birthday sentiments. “You’re old now,” Theo said to me with a hug, “Happy Birthday Will!” Derek followed after his husband in greeting. He still runs the shelter and youth center. The housing has expanded and can help more kids. The Foundation has worked in conjunction with him to get the funding to accommodate the remodel. He and Theo are both on the board at the Foundation, continuing to use its services for kids they come into contact with. Not much has changed for them except they try and do more than they are required to. So yeah, nothing has changed. We sat and relaxed, chatted had a few drinks. A couple of servers came out to the table laying out some starters, chicken wings, tater skins, along with a cheese and fruit platter. God, Pat’s good. I hope he comes and joins us, or I’ll have to force him to anyway. It won’t be the same without him. Pat and I still box two times a week. We don’t do Jiu-Jitsu anymore, although Lee still does. Yeah! You wouldn’t want to go up against him, thinking it would be easy because of his size. He’ll hand your ass back to you on a platter. He now has his own studio or dojo, whatever the hell they’re called, along with his flower shop. He bought it out and took over from the lady who owned it when he was in high school. He still performs at a competition level for Jiu-Jitsu. He’s one scary mother… Although I think it’s been a while since he competed. He is or was ranked something ridiculously high in competition. He’s been teaching Luke and Levi. It was a nightmare at first because the boys kept trying to fight each other and us. Somehow, Lee finally has them understanding it’s only to be used in defense, not to fight. Thank god, I don’t think my body parts could take much more. “Happy Birthday, Will!” The Morrison-Ferrige family all sang out at the same time I turned to Seb, Beau, and their family surrounded by hugs and a lot of talking over the top of each other. After college, the old man who owned the farm next to us sadly passed away. They bought the property and moved into the old farmhouse while building a new one on the property – a Seb Morrison design. Award-winning, of course. Seb runs his architectural business from the old farmhouse now that they’ve settled into their newly built home. Beau uses the land to grow plants, stuff he can use in his landscape business. He also supplies some of the local nurseries. He also pioneered one of our programs to help get some kids on the straight and narrow with help from Derek. Beau teaches them responsibility, accountability, and gives them respect. He builds them up, encourages them as best he can. It doesn’t always work, but never gives up. He also speaks audibly to everyone, Seb gave him the confidence to do it. They were married last year, and about time. Seb and Beau are still inseparable. Liam and I love having them right next door. Our two families do a lot together, as well as help out when needed. Oh, did I mention they have a son, Brandon, fourteen, and a daughter, Kimberly, who’s nine? Theo came across them after the young boy was caught stealing food for them. They had refused to be separated and ran away from foster care. Seb and Beau jumped at the chance to give them a happy life. I think they’ve been a family for about fifteen months now. It was tough at first, but all of them seem to be settled, and the two young ones have accepted that they aren’t going anywhere. “Are you coming to my Christmas concert, Uncle Will?” “I wouldn’t miss it, maestro.” I chuckled, giving him an assuring side hug. “Awesome!” he grinned at me. Seb still refuses to acknowledge his parents as they won’t accept Beau. He has not seen or spoken to them since the day Noah was born. His parents tried to reach out when Brandon and Kimberly joined the family, but there were strings attached, so he told them where they could shove their olive branch. “Uncle Will, is Finn here?” Kimberly asked. “Uh, he sure is. I saw him over with Muncle, Jason, and Stephen a few minutes ago.” I pointed to where they’d gathered shooting the breeze. “Cool, Uncle Stephen’s here. Do you know if he brought my guinea pig? He said he would give me one because somebody left them at the clinic.” She said the latter sadly. “Some people are mean.” She frowned. “They can be, yes. Why don’t you go over and ask Uncle Stephen about it,” I told her when I saw the look of panic on Seb's face and annoyance on Beau’s. It’s fun to annoy your friends. Or get a little payback, shall we say. The wonderful neighbors that we consider family found a litter of abandoned kittens on their property and gave one to Luke and Levi. When Liam asked our boys what they wanted to call the freakin’ bundle of crazy, Luke sneezed. That’s right, we now have a cat named ‘A-choo.’ I mostly just call it, ‘Git.’ Damned thing gets into everything. Nothing is sacred. God forbid you don’t latch the door to the bathroom well enough when your trying to do twos; it breaks in and curls up in the crotch of your pants. I hate that cat. “Or, I saw your grandparents around here a minute ago too. They headed off with grandpa Mitch chatting about basketball.” I looked around, trying to spot the coaches somewhere. “Well, they were here. I’m sure we’ll find them.” The Coaches love being grandparents to Brandon and Kimberly. The kids idolize them too. The two big burly men can be found at every music recital for Brandon. The boy has serious talent, and they are at every basketball game for Kimberly. She started playing basketball this school year. Coach Campbell spends a lot of time with her, even Brandon helps her build her skills. She does okay. Let’s face it, the girl is only nine and a little clumsy, but has a real love for the game. I have no doubt Kimberly will come into her own with the amount of hard work she puts into the sport. Plus, she’s freakin’ adorable. I so want a little girl. Shit! Don’t tell Liam I said that. My phone rang from my pocket, taking me out of my head. “Sorry, guys. I better take this. Get something to drink and eat.” I offered with a smile. Seb slapped me on the shoulder as he moved their family along to mingle. “Hello, Handsome!” I said quietly, snickering. “Hey, asshole, it’s me, Kat,” she growled. “Oh! I thought it was Oliver,” I said in mock sadness. Kat sighed, “He’s on the road at the moment, he’ll be back tomorrow, then after the holidays, he’s out on the road for three weeks. Endorsement and league promotion crap. I know I shouldn’t complain, but I miss him, Will.” “I know. How are all my babies, by the way?” “They’re wonderful, great, yeah, they’re okay. Let’s face it; they can all walk and talk now, so, yeah, a pain in the ass.” Kat chuckled. “But, you love ‘em.” “But I love them.” I could hear the smile in her voice. “When he goes away after the holidays, come visit us and have him meet you here in Kentucky, we’d love to see you all. We miss you guys so much, especially your pies.” I whined to her. Katherine perked up, “Thanks, Will, we might just do that. I don’t miss living in Kentucky, but I miss the family terribly,” Kat gasped into the phone. “What’s wrong?” I asked, a little panicky. “I’m horrible, Happy Birthday, Will! That’s why I called you. Sorry.” I laughed, “Thanks, it doesn’t matter, I’d rather talk to you than have my birthday anyway.” Liam sat down heavily next to me, “Who’s that?” he asked me, grinning. “It’s Kat!” “Ooh, gimme,” he said, frowning, reaching for the phone and snatching it out of my hands. “Hey, baby girl,” he said, standing then walking away. “Bye, Kat,” I yelled, hoping she heard me. Liam spun and waved, laughing at whatever Kat was saying. Katherine and Oliver – our housemates when we were at school – would stay with us when they come home to visit their families. After we graduated high school, they moved to Louisville for college. When they’re staying with us, they liked to torture Liam. While we are sleeping, they sneak into our room and steal our baby monitor and take our boys in the morning. Oh, they feed them, dress them, Kat then refuses to give them back. Paybacks a bitch, I guess. Their son Noah, had him at the end of our Junior year, and he was about three, I think, when our twins were born. Anywho, he loves the twins, so poor Kat and Ollie were pressured by young Noah for a brother. He now has two younger sisters, which I find hilarious. He was very put out when each pregnancy delivered a ‘stupid girl.’ It was comical when his youngest sister was born, Noah was maaaad. When he found out the baby was a girl, he threw his hands up in the air, “Another stupid girl, what am I gonna do with another girl? I can’t play with a girl. Ew! Gross.” Man, I love that kid. He’s a total comedian. Ollie had managed a full-ride scholarship to play baseball at college in Louisville. He and his family moved to the city. Ollie went to school, Kat worked to help support them and did some online classes. After Ollie finished college, he went on to play baseball professionally in Atlanta. He then sent Kat to school, and they got a nanny to help with their kids. Katherine is a qualified baker now. She opened her own bakery last year down in Atlanta. Their life together is chaotic between the kids, the bakery, and Ollie’s baseball career, but they seem happy. I couldn’t be happier for them, except I do wish they were local. “Will, have you seen my daddies?” Riley, Pat’s little sister, asked me. “No, sweetie,” I said, pulling her onto my lap as I looked around seeking out Uncle Ian or Uncle Adam, “they can’t be far, but you can sit with me until we find them.” “Thanks, are you having a good birthday? Did you get lots of presents?” she looked up with a cute smile. “I did, are you having fun tonight?” I asked her, she responded with an affirmative nod. The kitchen door banged open, getting my and Riley’s attention. Coming toward us is Pat, his Dads, and Lee carrying a massive three-tier cake supported by a board. Except for the colorful design, a bride would be envious. The candles lit up bright, casting a halo around the mountainous cake. As they got closer, Adam started belting out the “Happy Birthday” song; my guests and ALL of the restaurant staff gathered around singing while they carefully placed it on the table in front of me. Liam stood across the other side of the cake, beaming; he winked at me as he sang. I love my man. When the song came to an end, I blew out the candles, and everyone cheered, clapped, and called out. Lee started cutting up the cake handing it out to the birthday celebrators. He then had a couple of kitchen staff take the cake to cut up and offer other diners in the bar. Uncle Ian took Riley from me with thanks, so I mingled with the guests. I thanked everyone for coming and participated with an appropriate conversation, all the while praying for the time to pass so I could take my family home. All I want to do is put our babies to bed and snuggle up with my husband. No such luck, I’m afraid. It’s not so bad having everyone come to celebrate my birthday. I kind of feel special that this many people would want to celebrate with me. “Hey, Mom, are you having a good time?” I asked her. Mom had a goofy smile, she reached up and pat my cheek, “I am, everyone here together,” she held her arms out to the side, indicating all the people around us. Mom was tipsy, maybe a little more, but I would never say that to her. Mitch stepped back behind Mom; his hand went to his mouth, indicating she’d too much to drink. I closed my eyes for a quick second so I wouldn’t laugh. Mitch is a riot. Once we settled in at the Foundation, he came out of his shell the more we got to know him. He is genuinely a nice guy with a great sense of humor. He is quite funny, in fact. Mitch has had us in stitches laughing a time or two. The way he tells a simple story could have you chuckling hours after he said it. He’s also very charming. All the girls in the office swoon every time he says ‘hello’ to them. He had fallen for Mom from the minute they met, he made the real Kitt come alive, she was back to her old self the way she was when married to Liam’s Dad. After his death, she became very stoic, didn’t show a lot of emotion, and very rarely did we see her laugh. I love this version of her, and it made Liam so happy that his mom had come alive again. God, I love my family. My asshat of a mother didn’t know what she had. God, I haven’t thought about her in years. After she was sentenced to more years than I cared to give to shits about, I was glad to be done with her. I don’t even know what prison she’s in. I just hope she stays there. My grandfather died in prison after a couple of years. Apparently, he was quite ill. I’ve never heard from my grandmother and it’s never bothered me, nor have I ever pondered why until right now. Hmm. Weird. I chuckled at Mitch again. “Okay, I’ll leave you guys to it,” I said then whispered to Mitch, “Good luck with your handful.” Mitch winked at me and guided Mom off somewhere else. I turned on the spot to try and locate Liam but found Jason instead. “Happy Birthday, Jason,” I hugged him, he squeezed me tight. We share the same birthday, we’re also the same age. Jason took some EMT courses in our final year of school, went to college, studied fire science, and became a firefighter. I’ve got to say hanging out with him and his work friends doesn’t suck. Definitely some good eye candy there. “You too, buddy,” he pulled back from the hug, then pulled the guy behind him, “This is my friend Hunter, he’s new to the area and just started with us a couple of weeks back. I hope you don’t mind that I brought him with me.” “Hell no, the more, the merrier if you ask me. You know how much I hate this. The more people here, the less of a focus there is on me.” I laughed. “Hi Hunter, I’m glad you came. Make sure Jason introduces you to everyone,” I said, shaking his hand, “you coming to family brunch on Sunday?” “Of course, good food, good company, what else do ya need?” he snickered. “Bring Hunter with you, he’ll get to meet the family without all of this,” I whirled my finger in a circle, “craziness. Make sure you come, we’ll look after you.” “Uncle Jase,” Luke come smashing into his legs. Jason picked him up, sitting him on his hip. “You are getting too heavy to be picked up, little buddy. You’re a big boy now.” Little Luke nodded his head, his finger in his mouth while he focused on me. “Papi, can we go home?” he asked in his cute tired whiney voice. “Yeah, little man, we can. You stay here with Uncle Jase and his friend, Hunter, and I’ll find Daddy, yeah?” “Yeah!” Luke said as he yawned, resting his head on Jason’s shoulder. “He’ll be out in about two minutes. You okay with while I find Liam?” “Yeah, no worries.” Jason smiled. <>-<>-<> As I was slipping into bed, Liam sauntered into our bedroom with a yawn. He’s only in his pajama bottoms and no top. That man is sexy as hell. Even after all this time, I still can’t believe he’s mine. “The boys are finally down,” he said, sliding off his pants, turning the covers back to join me. Once he settled, he reached out and pulled me to him, ending with a kiss. “Did you have fun tonight?” “Mmm, more than I expected.” I smiled. “You were having a good time too.” “I did. Thank you for letting me throw you a party.” I chuckled silently. “It’s not like you gave me much choice. But I did have a good time, so thank you.” Before I even knew what was happening, Liam had me on my back with him over the top of me. Ninja! “Hi,” he whispered. “Hey.” I took in his beautiful face memorizing every detail even though I knew every blemish by heart. Not that there are many, but enough to make him more handsome. “I want to ask you something,” he said, grinding our packages together, eliciting a delighted moan from me. “You can have anything you want if you keep doing that,” I told him, and he smiled mischievously. “Awesome,” he said, sliding his hand down between our bodies, grabbing our cocks and stroking them together. “I was thinking, or wondering… God, that feels good,” he moaned, tightening his hand around us slightly. “Oh, yeah… you were wondering?” “Yeah, um… how would you feel about having another baby?” “You wanna talk about this now?” Ngh, hell. “Do that again, babe,” I gasped, so he slid his thumb over my slit, spreading the precum down our shafts. “No better time,” he said, releasing our cocks. Damn him. “Why’d you stop?” I lifted my head to look between us. He grinned cheekily. “I’m going to let you ponder that for a moment.” He dragged himself down over my body until his mouth reached my groin, immediately taking my erection into his mouth. “Oh my God, that’s so cheating!” I exclaimed as my head fell back into the pillow, and my hands fisted the sheets. “I know,” he said, licking from my balls to the tip of my cock. Dammit. He then pounced and took me all the way down until the head of my cock hit the back of his throat and moaned. The vibration was too much. Then he sucked me hard and fast until I exploded in his mouth. “Holy crap!” I panted, swallowing nothing but air trying to calm myself. “That… that was… oh my God! Yes, you can have whatever you want. Anything. Everything. Take it. Do it. Just make sure you do that again in twenty-minutes.” And he did. And then we did. We adopted a baby this time. Well, three actually—three siblings who had no one else in the world but us. Two girls: Bianca, she’s four-years-old, Delaney is two-years-old, and a little boy, Gabe, ten months younger than Delaney. I’m hoping we’re done, but I love Liam, so there’s no telling. But, I’d give him the world if I could, and we all know it. The End
  6. Bndmetl

    Chapter 3

    Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy the rest of the story. By the time you get to the last chapter the epilogue should be posted. I just hope the ending will be satisfying.
  7. Bndmetl

    Chapter 46

    I can't use my email at the moment it was compromised by some scam thingy and it sucks. That is all.
  8. Bndmetl

    Chapter 46

    Thanks Terry, it's breaking my heart to finish these guys. They have been and will continue to be my first loves when writing. But as they say, everything comes to an end. I have many stories in the works so something had to give. I want to thank you though for always sticking through my stories, I always look forward to hearing from you.
  9. Bndmetl

    Chapter 46

    Hahaha, I know how much you love that kid. He's one of my favourites too. Glad you were okay with it.
  10. Bndmetl

    Chapter 46

    Ch-ch-ch-changes! Nothing feels as good as waking up to my husband spooned tightly against my back. I love to feel his lips anywhere on me. Like now, he’s lazily kissing my neck gently, while his hand slowly runs up and from my pecs to my groin. It’s not really the sexual part of this; it’s the feeling of warmth and intimacy of his caress that I love. I get to have this for the rest of my life. “Morning, baby,” I said, reaching my hand back to run my fingers through his hair. “Hmm,” Liam nuzzled into my neck, “love the taste of you.” He pulled me over so I was on my back with him on top, biting my nipple as I moved into place. We began the day loving each other’s bodies, followed by a shower. Once we were dry, dressed, and presentable, we made our way downstairs. A fire was already raging in the fireplace, taking the edge out of the air warming our home. “Morning all,” I said, entering the kitchen, signing when I saw Beau as I headed for the coffee machine. “You guys must have gotten up early.” All around the kitchen were dishes in varying stages. Pie tins already lined with crusts waiting to be filled on the counter, homemade cranberry sauce cooling on the stovetop, about five cookie sheets lined with dough ready to go in the oven. And, because Karma loves me, Ollie is elbow-deep bathing the turkey a bath from the inside. “God, this is the grossest thing I’ve ever done,” Ollie said, his face contorted in disgust. As per usual, Seb and Beau are sharing kisses and touches over toast and cereal, utterly oblivious to the rest of the world. They both held their spoons up as a greeting along with a grunt, which is a crapload more acknowledgment than I expected. Liam opened the back door letting the dogs in, which included Rain, Pat’s dog. We were furbaby sitting since Pat went to his grandparents in New England for Thanksgiving. The dogs come rushing into the kitchen to get loving from any of their humans, but Liam sent them to the living room since Kat was cooking. “What do you need us to do, Kat?” Liam took the mug I held out for him. “Thanks, Babe.” Kat looked around the kitchen, taking stock of what’s around her. “Nothing really, the turkey stuffing is ready as soon as Ollie stops pleasuring her,” Kat said with an evil chuckle. Ollie rolled his eyes and flipped her the bird using the bird, causing it to slide further down his arm; she only laughed harder. “Uh… I have to fill the pies and bake the cookies.” Kat shrugged her shoulder. “I got up early to do it since we did all the housework yesterday. It means we all get a fun day of whatever the hell we want today. Tomorrow should be a breeze with all the prep done. Weather permitting anyway.” “Any ideas?” Liam asked. “The weather’s miserable and cold outside,” Seb grumbled, “lucky we brought the wood in yesterday.” DING! DONG! “I’ll go,” I said through a yawn. My stomach flipped with excitement when I opened the door to find a grinning four-year-old boy, his sixteen-year-old cousin, and the mailman. I tilted my head, confused momentarily as to why the mailman would be delivering my baby cousin and his cousin. The sound of spraying gravel made me look past the mail-truck to see a car speeding away down the road. With quick thinking, I put my finger to my lip. “Shh!” I quietly opened the security door. “Sign here, and here,” the mailman said, reaching over the boys. I did so, then he handed me two envelopes. I quickly tucked them under my arm against my body the second I recognized the college logo. Cory looked worried. “You don’t mind that we’re here? Your dads said it would be okay.” “Hell no! I have to put these in the office anyway, so lets put your stuff in the guest room..” When we came back downstairs, I whispered, “Go into the kitchen and surprise Liam.” They let me go back to the kitchen. Both Benny and Cory giggled as quietly while giving me a few moments. “Who was at the door?” Kat asked. “Courier; he had the wrong house. So, what are we doing today? Has anyone decided?” I asked, drinking the last of my coffee. I went over to put my mug in the dishwasher because I wanted to see Liam’s face when he saw Benny. “What if we do nothing, nothing but relax, watch movies, play games and drink warm drinks. Let’s be lazy,” Kat said dreamily. “I second that,” I said quickly. “I’ll group text Lee and his posse; you see if Jason and Stephen are up for it.” Liam pointed to me. “Done and d–” “BENNY!” Liam jumped from his chair with such force; he knocked it backward. Damn, I missed it. Grumpily I continued texting Jason and Stephen. “Hey Cory,” Ollie said, holding up his hands to show them he couldn’t actually greet them properly. “Ew!” Benny exclaimed, laughing. Liam had a hold of Benny, so the only hugs the youngster got were from Liam, and he wasn’t sharing. “You… dirty filthy liar.” Liam narrowed his eyes at me. “Courier, my butt, did you know they were coming?” I laughed. “No, it was a dump and run by Callen, I think. I’m not sure if he even slowed down to let the boys out of the car.” “How come you guys are here?” Liam asked, giving Cory a side hug with Benny still clinging to him. “I’m not sure, Daddy came home last night from work, he told us to pack a bag for a couple of days, and that we were going to Kentucky. Benny was staying with us over the holiday weekend because Uncle Alex and Uncle Tracy went to Alabama to see a man about a horse. Now we’re here.” Cory smiled. “That’s so awesome; I’m so glad you guys are here for Thanksgiving,” said Liam grinning from ear-to-ear. God, he’s gorgeous. “Liam, can we play with the dogs?” Benny asked. “Yeah, buddy,” Liam slowly put him down. I’m almost certain the kid was running before his feet touched the floor. A few moments later, we heard a squeal of joy. Then Benny returned to the kitchen with eyes as big as saucers pointing excitedly into the living room. “Cash and C.C. had… had… a… a puppy, quick come see.” He babbled with such excitement his words all muffled together. Kat watched Benny fondly. “My God, that kid is adorable.” “I know, right!” I answered, chuckling. Liam followed Benny into where the dogs all laid; we could hear him explaining that Rain was Paddy’s puppy and that we were watching her while he was away. They returned to the kitchen; Liam had Benny sit at the table with Seb and Beau, then he sat Rain down in the young boy's lap. Benny wasn’t letting go for anything; he was in love. “Okay, so what are we doing today?” I asked for what felt like the millionth time. My phone vibrated in my pocket, with a message from Jason. Jason: We’re in! Me: Pick you guys up shortly. “Hey Liam, where did we put the kid's seat for the truck?” “Uh… it’s in the office for some reason. Do you want me to put it in the truck for you?” “Yes, please, I hate that stupid thing.” I scowled. Liam laughed, then kissed my temple before leaving for the car seat. “Is we going somewhere? Can Rain come, please!” Benny pleaded. “I wish she could, little man, but we don’t have a harness for her to be in the car safely. We could take Cash if you wanted.” “Okay, he can come,” Benny said just as excited. Benny spent the entire drive petting Cash, rambling about how his fur felt different to Promise, his horse, but the same as Ace, his dog. When I pulled up at the shelter, Jason and Stephen came out the doors running through the rain with their bags. Jason got into my truck, swiveling to greet Cash. “Oh my god, Benny!” “Hi Jase,” Benny beamed with his big eyes. “You can hug me when we get home.” “Okay, will do.” Jason snickered as he turned back around to the front. “Seatbelt,” Benny sang out. “I am, I am. So bossy for a little kid,” Jason grumbled, putting his seatbelt on. “Hello Stevie, you can hug me now; you’s not in the front,” Benny demanded with his arms already out and ready to receive his hug. “Hey, Benny,” Stephen hugged the tyke. “You hanging with us today?” “Yes, we get to play all day.” “Oh good, you can be my partner for ‘Twister.’” “Yay!” Benny pumped his fists in the air. “We’s gonna win, Stevie.” Benny spent the entire drive back home, rambling again about fur to his new audience. The kid is all sorts of awesome; he’s laid back, not much seems to faze him. Still, at the same time, he’s excitable and enthusiastic about anything and everything. I hope Liam and my kids are just like him. My thoughts turned to the mail, hoping it was our letters saying we got early acceptance for college. We haven’t told anyone yet, but I’m hoping they’d be happy for us. <>-<>-<> Ollie and Jason came into the room carrying snacks, resting them on the coffee table for anyone to take. “Benny left-hand red.” “Woah, that’s so far.” He stretched as much as his body would allow, barely touching a red circle with his fingers. C.C. chose that moment to play twister, knocking everyone into a heap while they laughed, complaining at the same time. Then there was a debate as to who won. I vote the dog. “Benny and I won, it was our turn last, and he managed to touch the red. Plus, he fell over after all of you big fat losers.” Stephen poked out his tongue at everyone. “That’s fair,” Kat called out, “Stephen and Benny are the winners. Okay, what game does everyone want to play next?” “Charades!” Benny screamed, jumping up and down. “I’m with Cory, I’m with Cory.” “PJ’s first,” Liam said, throwing Benny over his shoulder, marching up the stairs with a giggling young boy. “I’m going to bath and feed Noah,” Kat said, picking her little man up off the couch next to her. Ollie followed along. They are a good family unit. When Kat first got pregnant, she had been worried about how everything would turn out for them. She shouldn’t have been; Ollie loves his family and never shirks his responsibilities to her or to Noah. We all went to our rooms to get changed. I found Liam in our room, putting on his Superman onesie. “Where’s your cape, baby?” “Hanging up,” he sat on the bed, tucking his feet into his slippers. Laughing, I changed into PJ bottoms and a t-shirt and an Australian pair of Uggs that Uncle Luke sent me. “Um… Liam,” I said nervously, remembering our letters I’d put in the office. He looked up at me, smiling. “Yeah, Babe?” he frowned when he saw my anxious face. “Hey, what’s up?” Liam stood, gathering me in a hug. “Our, uh… letters came from one of the universities today?” “Duke or Kentucky?” “Duke.” “Hmm, okay. What do you want to do?” “I don’t know, I’m kind of afraid to open them. If we get in, we have to tell everyone, we’ll be moving away from home – soon. If we don’t get in, I’m worried it’ll put a damper on the rest of the evening. What do you think we should do? What if only one of us got accepted? Are we idiots for trying to get into college early?” Liam shook his head, his hands sliding down the side of my body resting on my hips. “No. We’re both eager to get the next part of our lives over so we can get back and make the foundation everything it can be. That’s what we both want, right?” Liam asked, leaning in to kiss me chastely. “Yes.” “Okay then, we are going to march your sexy ass into that office and find out. Ready?” “No.” “Yes, you are.” “Okay.” “God, you’re easy.” “You have no idea.” I laughed, preceding him out of the room. “Stop checking out my ass, perv.” “But it’s right there, all beautiful and perky. So hot! I just want to sink my teeth into it.” “Later.” I could hear Liam’s disgruntled mumbling behind me when we reached the office. I sat down in one of the office chairs. He closed the door and joined me sitting in the other. My impatient husband rolled his chair so our knees were touching holding his hands out for his envelope. I laid it across his palms, he brought it to his body as if it were as precious as a new born baby. “On the count of three, one…” his eyes raised to mine. “Two… three!” Liam tore his envelope open as did I ripping the letters out to read them. Liam was very quiet, his head tilted to the side as his lips moved while he read. A little panicked, I read mine. Dear William, Congratulations! It is with delight to offer you early admission into the… “Oh.My.God. I got accepted,” I whispered reverently. “Baby?” I looked up at Liam to see he had tears in his eyes, bile rose up my throat. “Oh, no, honey.” “I got in,” he said, wiping the tears away. “Why the tears? You scared me.” “I don’t know, they just came. It’s overwhelming.” “Holy crap, there’s so much that has to be done.” I didn’t realize I was pacing the floor until Liam stopped my rambling before it began. He took the letter from my hand, placing it on the chair behind him. He managed to cup my face squishing my cheeks until I had fish lips, his eyes willing me to stop. “Babe, calm down, okay. There is nothing we can do right now. We are going to enjoy the rest of the holiday with our family. When it’s over, you can go all crazy Will on me; but for now, we are going back downstairs, we are going to play games, watch movies, and eat way too much food that is bad for us.” He kissed me to stop me from protesting. “Yes, even you are going to eat bad food: chicken wings, cheesy potato skins with lots of ranch dressing. There’s also cheese sticks and jalapeno poppers. And don’t forget a crapload of popcorn, chips, and dip. Now march.” Liam smacked my ass as we walked out of the office taking another look at my butt, so I put a little swing in it. “Tease!” he grumbled from behind me on the stairs. I looked over my shoulder at him through my eyelashes. “Stop it. We have guests.” “What? I’m not doing anything.” I smirked. <>-<>-<> The kitchen was a flurry of activity; Liam was feeding Noah while Kat was coordinating everyone else. The turkey was already in the oven, the pies ready to go in later. Vegetables were prepped, but the presentation of everything was what had Kat flapping around. Jason and I were scared after she’d yelled at us for the third time that we weren’t folding the napkins the right way. The last time she was this scary, she was pregnant. “OLLIE!” I screamed out to the kitchen from the dining room. He came running in, glancing between Jason and me. “What? What’s wrong?” he asked, almost panicked. “Why is Kat freaking out on us?” He waved his hand dismissively, his body relaxing somewhat. “Because she’s doing it by herself this year without your mom’s help. Your cousins are coming to thanksgiving, and Kat doesn’t want to let anyone down.” “Aww.” Now I feel bad. “I love that girl.” I got up from my seat and went to her side in the kitchen; she blew some hair out of her eyes while moving some of the pumpkin biscuits she’d made. “Are you finished with the nap–” I took her in my arms, squeezing the ever-loving crap out of her before kissing her temple. “Baby girl, you need to relax. The dinner is going to be great, just like everything you make. You already did the preparations; it’s all going to come together nicely. Calm down and let your happy helpers follow your instructions. Nobody’s going to be judging your cooking; they’re just going to be glad they have a nice Thanksgiving meal. We all love you and appreciate what you’ve done.” I held her in my arms longer, gently swaying side to side as Kat’s body slowly relaxed into mine. When her arms wrapped around my waist, I loosened my grip and pulled back enough so I could see her face planting a warm smile on my own. “Feel better?” “Just one more hug, and that should do it.” I laughed, hugging her to me once again. “I better get back to the napkins, the warden’s a witch!” Kat smacked my arm when I pulled away. “Thanks, Will. Love ya.” “Pleasure girly, take a break, and a breath. Ollie has it all under control. You’ve trained him well.” She winked at me while pulling Noah from Liam, much to his consternation, and headed for a quiet moment with her baby boy. Liam glanced at me with sad eyes. “She stole my baby.” “You still have Benny, he’s around here somewhere getting into trouble with the dogs.” I reminded him. His face lit up before he ran out of the room, searching for his best friend. While Liam kept Benny and Cory entertained in the living room with a video game marathon, the rest of us chipped in. We helped Ollie to leave Kat to a well-earned break. After last night’s effort of games and movies, none of us made it to bed until about two in the morning except for Benny, who’d crashed out halfway through the first movie. God love him; the youngster tried so hard to stay up late. Seb and Beau were at the coaches' place for the morning and were all coming back for dinner in a few hours. Dad and Papi showed up early with mom. Surprisingly, Mitch was in tow as he had nowhere to go for thanksgiving. We all liked him a lot, so it isn’t much of a hardship. They brought Callen and Jase with them, who gave us sheepish grins when they arrived and hugs for Benny and Cory. They were immersed in conversation with Benny while he regaled all the fun he’d had with us in the last twenty-four hours. Man, I can’t wait until we have kids. I love watching their little faces light up with excitement or that giggly laugh they get when they’re amused by something they find naughty. A pair of powerful arms wrapped around my waist, lips kissing my neck. “I can’t wait for our own kids, babe.” “Me either,” I whispered, hoping he didn’t hear me because Liam had caught me off guard. He spun me around to face him so quickly my head spun. “Really?” he asked incredulously, “that’s the first time you’ve ever said anything. What changed your mind?” “Nothing has changed my mind, I’ve always wanted kids just like you. I just don’t want to have to choose between our firstborn and our education. That’s what will happen if we have a kid before we finish school. We’ll constantly feel guilty for spending time with our them instead of studying or because we are studying and not spending time with our kid. I don’t want a full-time nanny Liam. I want us to raise our kid together, daycare is one thing but a nanny… I want our kids to know we love them, and we choose them over all else.” “Wow,” Liam exclaimed before kissing me hard. “I never put that much thought into it, I just want kids and a bunch of them. They’re fun and exciting, I want ours to be just like you.” Chuckling through my reply, “I’d like ours to be exactly like you. Warm, kind, funny, playful, childish, immature, bratty… Owww!” He bit me! “You know you have a bedroom for that type of thing,” Papi called out. “He called me bratty!” Liam growled back playfully. “Pot; Kettle,” Dad retorted. <>-<>-<> We all groaned as Kat put the dessert pies on the table. I think we’ve all had our fill, and by the look of everyone, they were busting at the seams like me. Benny already looked like he was in a turkey coma, asleep at the table with his fork still in hand. “Ugh, Kat, sweetie, I think you might have ruined all other Thanksgivings for us,” mom said, tossing her napkin down next to her plate, “this was delicious. You did a great job; you should be proud of yourself.” “Hear, hear,” papi said in agreement, smiling. “You might have to let us all take a piece of pie home, though. I don’t think any of us could fit another bite in.” “Thank you,” Kat answered, shyly. “It was definitely the best meal I’ve ever eaten.” Ollie wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her onto his lap. He pecked a kiss to her lips, then smiled as he gazed into her eyes. Aw, swoon. “Holy… we didn’t say what we were all thankful for this year.” A few chuckles and murmurs followed Ollie’s statement. “How about a blanket, thanks? We’re all thankful for this meal Kat made and be done with it,” I said, hoping everyone agreed with me. There were a few nods, a tsk from mom, and a mischievous smile from dad. He leaned forward, resting crossed arms on the table. “I like it. But since we didn’t do thanks, what if we all went around the table and caught up. Everyone gives one piece of news about themselves that nobody knows yet.” “Ooh, I like that.” Mom nodded in agreement. “I’ll go first. Hmm, okay; I’m going back to school to get a degree in social work at the University of Kentucky.” “Really?” Liam asked excitedly. “That’s fantastic, Mom.” She shrugged her shoulder, lazily. “It’s only part-time, so I can keep working at the foundation at the same time.” “What made you want to do that?” I questioned interestingly. “I want to be able to understand how to help the kids better. I don’t feel like I’m contributing enough, and really want to help the kids who utilize the services through the foundation.” “Wow, that’s fantastic, congratulations,” I smiled. “Thank you, sweet boy.” She mirrored my smile, then looked around the table. “Who’s next?” Callen gently picked up Benny to take him upstairs. “Carry on, I’ll be down in a minute. I’m just going to put the munchkin to bed.” “Seb,” dad said, pointing to him. “What do you have going on?” Seb ducked his head, trying to avoid everyone, but Beau nudged him flicking his chin toward the middle of the table then signed. “Tell.” His gaze flicked around the table quickly, then his shoulders slumped defeatedly. “I’ve applied to design school. If I get in, I’ll be quitting my job and become an architect. I’ll be going back to school with Beau.” He leaned in and kissed Beau quickly, who I’m almost sure blushed all the way to his toes. “Dude,” Jason bellowed, “that’s awesome. I can’t believe you’re going to finally do it. Congrats, man.” He stood turning to Seb, giving him a bro hug. “You’re gonna kill it, man. This is awesome.” It’s amazing how different Jason and Beau are now from when I first met them at the shelter. They’re both so confident and charming, a far cry from the scared, shutdown, and miserable guys I met initially. “What about you, Jason? Any news? Future plans?” Dad asked. “Actually,” he said as he sat down, “I’ve just got my EMT certification. I’ll be going to community college to do Fire Science so I can become a firefighter and join the department.” “Oh, wow. That’s great. Good for you, buddy,” Oliver said with a tiny bit of awe. “Congrats, man,” Seb said, slapping Jason’s shoulder with a smile. Unfortunately, for Ollie, all eyes turned to him. His brow furrowed, and he gave Liam an apologetic glance before clearing his throat. “I found out a couple of days ago, I got a full athletic scholarship to Louisville to play baseball.” “Holy shit,” Liam gasped. “Why didn’t you tell us?” he questioned sounding a little hurt. “I… I didn’t want to upset you, I guess.” The pain in Ollie’s eyes just about killed me. “Why would I be upset, Ollie?” Liam asked. “Because it was your dream,” he said, shrugging a shoulder, adjusting Kat on his lap. “I know you wanted this, but now…” “Oh my god, you’re an idiot.” Liam smiled. “Holy shit!” he stood moving toward Ollie with his arms out. Oliver lifted Katherine off his lap gently then walked into Liam’s arms. They hugged each other so tightly. Liam whispered something to Ollie that made him smile even though he had tears in his eyes. As they pulled apart, Liam wrapped a hand around the side of Ollie’s neck. “I’m so proud of you, you dufus.” My husband turned his attention to the table, pointing at our friend Ollie. “Our Oliver’s going to play in the major leagues someday. How freakin’ cool is that.” Oliver threw his head back, laughing as he wrapped an arm around Kat, bringing her to him for a hug. Something Liam does to me when he needs my comfort or to center himself. “What about you, Liam? Spill!” Kat said with a grin. “What about me?” he asked back, “what about you?” Kat sighed. “I don’t know yet. I was waiting to see what was happening with Oliver to make a decision but now I know, so…” “So?” Liam crossed his arms, like it was a demand for an answer. “Obviously, I’ll be going wherever Ollie goes.” Liam’s arms fell to his side. “What about you, though? Aren’t you going to go to college?” “I will,” she nodded, “wherever I end up I’ll be studying culinary arts, specifically baking. I want to be a pastry chef.” “Good girl.” Liam nodded, then sat back down beside me still grinning. “How cool is that?” “Very.” I chuckled. “Congrats, guys.” “Your turn,” mom said with two fingers aimed at Liam and me. I blew out a breath, sneaking my hand under the table to grab Liam’s hand. I needed his strength for this because we kind of went behind everyone's back to do it. We both looked at each other with the silent question as to what to do. I gave Liam a slight nod and winked at me. “So, Will and I have both been accepted for early admission to Duke—” Liam stopped talking the second dad’s hand went in front of him with a stop gesture. “Early decision? Or early admission?” he asked tersely. “Huh?” Liam asked confoundedly. “When are you going to college?” Dad asked. “Uh, when we’re supposed to. Fall usually.” Liam looked at me for help. “After we graduate, dad,” I said with a sigh. “Oh, okay, continue.” Jackass. “Oookay, Will, and I have been accepted by Duke. We’ll be looking for a house in the upcoming months. Because we’re married, we don’t have to live in the dorms, which means we can find a permanent place for the four years we’ll be at school.” Callen came back into the room at the end of our conversation; he dropped into his chair tiredly, resting his arm on the back of Jase’s seat. “Actually, I can help you with that. I’m originally from North Carolina, right near Duke. We sold up when we moved to Florida. Tracy went to Duke; you should give him a call.” “Really, that’d be great. Thanks, Callen.” “You going to sell this place,” Oliver asked. “Nah, this is our home—your’s too, as a matter of fact. We could never sell this place. We’ll be coming back to live here after college.” I smiled. “Cool,” he nodded as his head bobbed up and down. “So, Stephen, you still want to be a vet?” I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from us. “Yup, and after all my schooling, I want to get a job back here,” he told us all. “Despite all the shit that’s gone down. I like it here, I feel like I have a family.” He chuckled. “I can’t believe how much has changed. If you’d asked me a year ago if I wanted to stay around here, I would have said ‘hell, no,’ but now…” “You’ve got a long road ahead of you, young man. Are you prepared?” Papi asked. “No, not in the least. I’ll manage it. I can get student loans and the like.” He rolled his eyes, self-deprecatingly. “I should probably start getting on that.” “Be sure to come and see us at the foundation before you apply for any student loans. It’s part of what we do.” Dad winked at Stephen. “We’ll look after you, don’t worry. It doesn’t even matter if you’re studying out of state.” “Thanks, Mr. Blundell. I’ll be sure to do that.” <>-<>-<> “Hey, baby,” Liam said softly, sliding his head along the pillow to be a few inches from my face. “Hey.” I smiled at him as he softened the edge of the pillow down with his hand so he could see me. We were on our sides staring at each other, enjoying the moment after a lazy, yet hectic day. “Are you happy? Tomorrow you get to wake up and finally have your freak out over everything we need to do to get ready for college?” “Yes. I still can’t believe we both got accepted.” I took a deep breath; it feels like I’m suffocating with all the excitement and, at the same time, pressure. “Are you scared?” His face looked pensive for a few seconds. “Hmm, excited? Absolutely. Anxious? A little. But scared? No, I don’t think so.” “I’m terrified,” I told him truthfully. “Don’t be,” he whispered, “we’ve got each other. We can do anything together.” “I know. I know.” “What is it then, why are you scared? Talk to me, babe.” “What if it’s too much? What if I fail?” Liam snorted quietly, “Baby, you’ve never failed a thing in your life. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but we will get through school and anything else life throws at us.” “I love how you’re always confident. I envy that.” I leaned the few inches to his mouth, kissing him. “Hmm, I get my strength from you.” He smiled. I shook my head. “So, cheesy.” “Not cheesy when it’s true, babe.” Liam slid over the top of me and loved the hell out of me.
  11. Bndmetl

    Life's Struggles

    Hi all, Spoke with Rob today and he's home from the hospital and already bitc- um... complaining about the different therapies he now has to do, and still laughing. If he still has his sense of humor there's no doubt he'll be fighting fit after some work. He's asked that I pass on his thanks to everyone for their kindness and good thoughts for him. He's able to touch each finger to his thumb on his right hand so that's encouraging. Unfortunately, walking and talking are still a huge struggle for him but I have no doubt we'll see some improvement over near future. He's already making distasteful jokes so we'll all have our friend back to himself soon enough. Oh, yeah, Blu wants to know which one of you put the dirty nappy in his pillowcase? He's blaming @pvtguy but my money is on @rdale since they've been through this war and know all the tricks and good hiding spots. But then again this reeks of @empresslovesreading. Take care, and I'll keep you all updated. Joh
  12. Bndmetl

    Sad News

    You’re welcome Buzz. I’ll make sure he gets all the messages, it will help him get better quicker.
  13. Bndmetl

    Sad News

    Thanks Onim, I hope so to. It’s not going to be much fun without him bossing me around and poking fun at me for a while. I wish there was more that we could do to help him get better.
  14. Bndmetl

    Sad News

    He is, thanks Wes.
  15. Bndmetl

    Sad News

    Hi everyone, Devastatingly a few days ago Rob had a mini-stroke, but overnight he’s had a big one and will be in the hospital for the foreseeable future. As far as I know at the moment it has affected the entire right side of his body and speech. When I know more I’ll keep you updated as to how he is doing. I wish it was better news. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. Be in touch soon. Hope you are all well and take care of yourselves and loved ones. Joh
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