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About kbois

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  1. kbois

    Chapter 31

    It seemed like the next few days flew by to all three of them. Tuesday Cassie was up first and had let the two men sleep while she showered and made some scrambled eggs and sausage patties. Both guys were surprised that she didn’t burn anything. Ian left for the shop, wanting to get as much work done this week as he could. He was planning on taking the week before and after the wedding off. Lex and Cassie took the truck to go get the mulch Lex needed. Cassie begrudgingly agreed to help. It took two days to spruce things up enough to satisfy Lex. Cassie was thrilled when Kathy called and asked if Friday was good for her to meet and shop for the decorations. Lex couldn’t help the nagging feeling that he still had that Cassie was planning something she didn’t want him to find out about. He would kill her if if there was one single pink, frou frou party favor anywhere in sight the day of the wedding. He called his financial guy and arranged for him to fly out a couple of weeks after the wedding so they could arrange to have the various accounts changed or merged or whatever they needed to do and to figure out what had to be done to start the ball rolling on the Ink Well Foundation. Jarren called him on Friday and asked if it would be alright if he and Mazen could have a small get together the following weekend, kind of a bachelor night but low key. A few guys, some beer, steaks on the grill, college football and poker. Lex didn’t see anything wrong with that and told him as long as it was OK with Ian it would be fine with him. He wondered if he could keep Cassie away. He gave a silent thanks that she wasn’t involved in planning it. She would probably have male strippers, complete with pole if given her way. As it was when she returned from her outing with Kathy she wore a pretty smug expression. Lex just sighed, whatever she was planning he would have to deal with. On Saturday morning he called Ryan to touch base and to talk with the girls as he had promised. Shannon’s team had won both of their games that week and Mia was chosen for a solo dance routine for their recital in December. She made Lex promise to come with Ian. He ended the call on a happy note. Cassie was settled in at Ms. Helen’s for the short term. She wanted something of her own however and decided that Lex needed to keep busy and so enlisted his help at trying to find an apartment. Lex asked her why she didn’t just buy something and she told him she wanted to get to know the area first. Besides, once the foundation was up and running she might have to spend more time in Boston so she wanted to keep her options open. They ended up looking at eight apartments over the next several days before Cassie decided on a cute two bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a two family house. The landlord leased the upstairs to a nice, single guy who taught at the local high school. He had a female roommate who ran one of the local theater groups. They were just friends and had been renting the upstairs apartment for almost ten years. The apartment was cute and suited Cassie. The front of the building had a wide porch that the landlord, Sam, said Cassie would have use of. The tenants upstairs had their own balcony on the back of the house. The front door led to a large foyer. Stairs on the left led to the upstairs apartment and a dark walnut door with a large oval of etched, frosted glass was the entrance to Cassie’s new place. The door led into a large living area. Tall windows let in plenty of light. There was a built in bar/china cabinet along the wall. Cabinets housed plenty of shelves for glasses, dishes or booze. Lex could already picture a variety of liquor bottles stocking the shelves, with plenty of Fireball and Rumchata. Beneath the cabinets was a good size countertop above two rows of drawers separated by an area of open shelves. There was original hardwood flooring throughout. The landlord told them he had it refinished recently and the polished wood gleamed in the sunlight. There was short hallway that led to the kitchen. This too had been recently renovated. While not huge, it was plenty big enough for Cassie. The appliances were all new, not top of the line but nice just the same. There was an eat in area that would hold a table for four comfortably. There wasn’t a whole lot of cabinet or counter space but Sam had pointed to a door and when Cassie opened in she squealed in delight. It led to a pantry/laundry area There were plenty of shelves to house food and cleaning supplies. A full size washer and dryer were included and there was even a built in area for folding clean clothes. Behind the kitchen were the two bedrooms. A bathroom separated the rooms. Cassie was thrilled to see an old fashioned claw foot tub taking up one side of the space. The master bedroom was a decent size. Lex figured it would hold a queen size bed and maybe two dressers with plenty of room to maneuver. There was a good size closet that ran the entire length of one wall. It wasn’t deep but it was long. Another small bathroom with a toilet, sink and walk in shower served as the master bath. The second bedroom would be perfect for Rita when she came to visit. Cassie and Sam agreed on first and last month’s rent and Cassie wrote him out a check. Her lease would start November 1st but Sam had told her she could move in anytime after the weekend of the 20th. He needed to finish painting the two bedrooms. Cassie was also happy to see the good sized parking area in the back of the house. The balcony of the apartment above provided a nice covered area that could be accessed from a door in the kitchen. She wouldn’t have to go far to unload groceries and Cassie liked that. Ian’s final week of working before taking two weeks off kept him busy as well. He took his mentoring responsibilities seriously and he was happy that Brie, as she liked to be called was a quick learner and took his advice when offered. It wouldn’t be long before she had her own following. Ian had readily agreed to the get together that Jarren and Mazen had proposed and when that Saturday arrived both he and Lex gave a sigh of relief when Cassie said that Kathy had invited her for dinner. Jessie and the kids were flying in with their flight due to land in the late afternoon. Ian and Lex wouldn’t have time to go see them before the get together so Cassie promised to give them all hugs and kisses for them even though she had never met them. Jarren had told them to come over around six. Cassie had left for Agawam at three so Ian and Lex took advantage of the time they had alone. Both had been really busy and while a quick blow job was always appreciated, they needed more. Ian had taken control and taken Lex to heights they hadn’t had time to reach for a while. Lex hoped he could walk normally by they time they were ready to go. Getting dressed after their shower Lex pulled on a new pair of jeans that Cassie had bought him. While technically they were not skinny jeans, they were fitted enough that Ian let out a long whistle of appreciation at the sight of his ass being displayed by the snug fabric. Lex looked back over his shoulder and winked at him. He grabbed a black, ribbed v-neck shirt and pulled it over his head, turned around and stepped over to Ian and fused their lips together in a heated kiss. Ian looked pretty hot himself, wearing black jeans which showed off his ass as well and a soft, dark purple Henley. “You ready to go kick some ass in poker?” Lex asked. “As ready as I’ll ever be,” Ian replied with another kiss. Making sure the house was locked up they took Lex’s Lexus and pulled into Jarren and Mazen’s driveway twenty minutes later. There were only a few cars in the driveway, the only one Lex recognized was the black F250 that the twins were in when they rescued him from being stranded in the rain. They could hear music coming from inside when they knocked on the door and the a voice yelling “It’s open!” Lex and Ian stepped inside and when they stepped into the kitchen they were greeted with a chorus of “Surprise!” from the small mob that had gathered. Ian was shocked when he saw his brother Sean standing there grinning. He quickly went over and pulled him into a tight brother hug, both of them squeezing as hard as they could to see who would tap out first. Sean started laughing and let go first. Ian looked at him and asked “What happened with your event you were supposed to be handling for work? You said you couldn’t come until later in the week. Sean turned red and admitted “Your friend Cassie called me and basically threatened my manhood if I didn’t show up. She reminded me that family trumped job and when Jessie took her side I had no choice.” Ian looked over and saw Cassie standing there with the biggest shit eating grin on her face and mouthed ‘thank you”. She just blew him a kiss. Lex looked around and should have been surprised, but when he saw Cassie he knew that she was the one behind all of this. He knew she had been hiding something. He and Ian made their way through the kitchen greeting everyone. In addition to Sean, Rick was there as well as Jase. Brian and Chance had made it too. Mazen and Jarren were standing by a little alcove and when they made their way over to say hi the twins stepped back to reveal Ryan and Seth standing there wearing their own shit eating grins. Lex exclaimed “You said you were coming on Tuesday!” Ryan laughed and Seth said “Yeah, well Cassie got a hold of us too. In addition to threatening our manhood she also threatened to corrupt the girls. So we rearranged our schedules and you’re stuck with us for the week. Ian’s mom is taking care of the girls tonight.” Hugs were exchanged and finally Lex stood in front of Cassie. He grabbed her and put his own boa constrictor hold on her as he whispered in her ear “I love you, you sneaky little bitch!” Cassie returned the hug and then pulled away, turned around and yelled “Let the party begin!” Lex smiled as he took in the people who had become his friends and family. As they made their way out to the back yard he saw that Mazen and Jarren, probably with Cassie’s help had transformed their backyard into what could only be described as a party zone. Colored lights were hung, there were four outdoor propane heat towers on the deck as the nights were now cold. The twins already had a speaker system wired for the deck and music was pumping through, not loud enough to drown out conversation but loud enough to be heard clearly. The fire pit was lit and surrounded by stadium chairs. Coolers were filled with beer, liquor bottles and wine was set up on a table on the deck. The grill was fired up and before long the smell of steak and chicken filled the air. Cassie handed Lex and Ian each a red Solo cup and winked. One sniff told Lex that Cinnamon Toast Crunch was on the menu for the evening. He watched as she made her way over to where Jarren and Mazen were manning the grill. What he saw floored him and he started laughing uncontrollably. Ian looked at him like he had six heads and asked “are you alright?” Tears had formed and one actually slid down his cheek. Before too many other people noticed Ian pulled him aside and as Lex started to calm down he questioned “What’s so funny?” Lex managed to stop laughing long enough to wipe his cheek and say to Ian “Look at Mazen, the poor guy has no idea what’s about to hit him. Oh God I can’t stand it! He’s fucked, totally absolutely fucked!” Ian looked over to where Mazen was standing at the grill. Cassie was standing next to him, her arm occasionally brushing his. As it clicked he started to chuckle and looking back at Lex said “Mazen and Cassie?” Lex just nodded and then both men broke out into uncontrollable laughter. It was enough to get the attention of everyone standing on the deck. Most of them figured it must be a inside joke, but Cassie looked over and her eyes narrowed. Ian somehow managed to ask Lex “You gonna tell her?” Lex only shook his head. Ian then asked “Should we at least warn him?” Lex shook his head again and managed to reply “Nope, it’s like an earthquake. They don’t know what’s about to hit them and when it does they can only hope that when the shaking stops they’re still standing.” They started laughing again. Cassie came over and said “Wanna share what’s so funny?” Lex, quick on his toes, replied “Monkey sex, Cass, we were thinking about monkey sex.” Cassie narrowed her eyes at both of them and muttered “Perverts.” That set them off into more gales of laughter. The evening progressed as the small group enjoyed the food and the company. Ian and Jase caught up with each other again. The alcohol flowed freely and knowing that everyone had handed their keys over to Brian, even Mazen indulged more than usual. He came over to Lex and Ian while Cassie was helping Jarren bring the leftovers into the house and asked Lex “So, your friend Cassie, she’s single right?” Lex smiled and replied “Yes, she’s single so feel free to go for it.” Then his face became serious as he added “BUT, remember this, if you ever hurt her, I will kill you. And she will have no problem whatsoever helping me dispose of your body. Understand?” Mazen nodded and for the rest of his life he always wondered if Lex was joking or if he was serious. A short time later cards were brought out and Lex, Ian, Cassie, Mazen, Jarren, Ryan, Sean and Brian all threw in fifty bucks and Rick acted as dealer and doled out the chips. Jase and Seth said they would monitor for cheating. It became clear in the first hand of Texas Hold ‘Em who the serious players were. Cassie, Lex, Ian and Sean all were determined to win. Cassie and Ian wouldn’t let Lex look at any of the players. He had an advantage no one else had and Cassie knew he probably wouldn’t cheat but as an added measure of protection, she made him wear a pair of those novelty glasses with the big nose and fake mustache. She had superglued blinders to the sides and she made him look straight down at the table. He looked ridiculous but by that time had imbibed enough alcohol to not care. It still gave him an advantage because whenever one of the other players looked at him they laughed because he looked so silly. They also couldn’t tell if he was bluffing or not. Ryan and Jarren were the first to lose their all their money. Brian wasn’t far behind and Mazen managed to hold his own for several hands before Cassie took him out with a magnificent bluff. The battle of the final four was epic. The lead changed hands with almost every round. Ian and Sean finally got into a bidding showdown and Ian ended up ousting his brother, Both had full houses, Sean with queens over tens, but Ian pulled kings over eights for the win. Of course he had to rub salt in his brother’s face and chanted “In yo’ face, in yo’ face!” as he raked in his chips. Sean got his payback three hands later when Lex ousted Ian with a queen high straight flush in diamonds over Ian’s four fives. Cassie looked at Lex, seeing past the ridiculous glasses suggested “Shot for every ace your opponent holds if you win the hand?” It was a tactic they had used in the past. They were both savvy players and knew getting their opponent trashed was the only way to win. It took another forty-five minutes until the game ended. Lex was sitting on a flush in hearts with king high. He knew it was a really good hand, but he also knew it could be beaten by four other hands or another flush with an ace high. Cassie came on strong as she always did until Lex uttered “Fuck it. All in,” and pushed his remaining chips to the middle. He flipped over his cards and when he looked up at Cassie he knew she won. She smiled triumphantly and turned over her full house. Threes over twos. Cassie jumped up and did a little happy dance and grabbed Mazen and planted her lips on his. The poor guy looked like he didn’t know what hit him. Lex looked at Ian and laughed. Cassie fanned her cash in front of Lex and reminded him “Loser walk of shame Lex” Lex rolled his eyes and wasn’t really surprised when the rest of the room rolled a little with it. He and Cassie had a longstanding agreement that whoever lost at poker had to do whatever the winner told them to. His former walks of shame had included mooning Rita every time he saw her for a week. He had once made Cassie wear a bikini to church. That was hysterical. It was forty degrees that day and her nipples had been at full attention the whole time. Cassie went over to the table with the booze and grabbed the remote for the sound system and looked at him and said “Today, Lex. Today.” Lex paled a little a uttered “Oh Fuck! Really Cass?” She smiled and pressed play. Within two seconds Lex heard the opening violin notes of Neil Diamond’s song ‘America’. He had never told Ian that when he and Cassie were nine she made him take jazz dance lessons with her. The finale for their spring recital was a routine set to that song. Cassie pulled him down the deck stairs and got into position next to him on the grass. Lex just prayed that his jeans wouldn’t rip when he attempted what he wasn’t sure he could do any more. As the slow intro gave way to the more uptempo beat and the drums got stronger, Cassie led Lex through as much of their old routine as she could remember. The rest of the guys lined the railing of the deck and hooted out cat calls as Lex danced and twirled to the beat. He was glad it was dark and the lights from the deck weren’t super bright because he knew his face was cherry red. His hips swayed and his feet danced out a vaguely familiar routine. He missed as many steps as he hit and as they approached the last part of the song he crouched down waiting for his cue. As Neil belted out the first loud call of “Today” Lex somehow managed to jump up from his crouched position, his legs flying out to each side in a spectacular split as he attempted to touch his toes before crashing back to Earth again. He landed on his ass laughing as he watched Cassie perform her own split jump, landing perfectly of course. They guys on the deck exploded in cheers and applause as the music faded and Lex lay sprawled on the ground, not quite sure if his balls survived or not. Cassie flopped down next to him laughing and then planted a kiss on him. Ian came over and hauled Lex up, holding him tight and planting his own kiss on those lips remarked “You never told me you could dance.” and promptly started laughing. Lex pouted and said “My balls hurt, I think I pulled them apart.” Ian nipped his ear and whispered “I’ll kiss them and make then all better later. I promise.” Lex smiled and turned to the crowd on the deck and took a bow. The rest of the evening was spent swapping tall tales and drinking. By three in the morning everyone had managed to claim a bed or a couch. Mazen had reserved one of the guest rooms for Lex and Ian and Ian made good on his promise before they finally drifted off in a room that was spinning slightly for both of them.
  2. kbois

    Chapter 30

    Thanks! And yes the end is coming soon. It's been written for a while and I've been tweaking it here and there. All good things must come to an end ☹
  3. kbois

    Chapter 30

    Nope. Lex hasn't seen her. Ian did all the interviewing and went with his gut. I waffled over the name for a while until Cassie yelled at me! 😁 Thanks!
  4. kbois

    Chapter 30

    Yeah... Cassie's a smart cookie!
  5. kbois

    Chapter 30

    Sunday morning found the two men stuck in traffic trying to get out of Boston. They had gotten on the road by late morning but an accident on the Mass Pike was snarling traffic down to a slow crawl. Lex took in his surroundings as they inched their way through the congestion. He suddenly realized that they must be close to Fenway when he saw the famous Citgo sign. Lex didn’t really have a favorite sport and he knew enough to keep his opinions to himself regarding anything to do with football or baseball. New England fans were positively rabid in their loyalty and woe to those who got in their way. Lex did admit to himself that he would love to see a game at the park. Baseball was one of those sports that was boring to watch on TV but to see it played in a stadium was literally a whole different ball game so to speak. There was something about the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd when the ball was hit into home run territory that just didn’t translate when you watched it on television. At long last they passed the accident and traffic finally picked up. A flatbed trailer had jackknifed, spilling its load of what looked like bags of cement powder all over the road. The only way past was along the shoulder as the state police had all the other lanes blocked off. Luckily it looked like the truck was the only vehicle involved and Lex saw the driver speaking with one of the troopers as they passed. Once they were on their way for real the rest of the trip was uneventful. By unspoken agreement Lex and Ian did not talk about the events of the past few days. They were both still processing everything and they needed to let all the information bounce around their brains before they would be able to sort it all out. Instead they listened to music, more of the indie stuff Ian had found. Lex called Ms. Helen to see if she would be alright with Cassie renting a room for a little while. Of course Ms. Helen said she would be delighted. Lex also told her he would like to take her up on her offer to have guests stay there for the wedding. He didn’t tell her who, he wasn’t ready just yet, only that it was a family of four, two adults and two little girls. Once again she quickly agreed. When the call ended Lex rested his head against the headrest and sighed. Ian looked over and asked “Are you OK?” Lex kept his eyes closed and replied “Yeah, I’m still trying to process everything. In a way this weekend was everything that I hoped for and everything that I feared. And before you say anything, I’m over the fear part, but I guess I should explain. The past two years have given me time to imagine every possible scenario from being welcomed with open arms to being thrown out on the sidewalk to having my ass kicked. Whenever I imagined the whole ‘welcomed with open arms’ scene I would picture him with a family. I admit, I did picture a wife and not a husband. That one definitely threw me for a loop for sure. I guess the apple really didn’t fall far from that tree huh? But I always had trouble with imagining the family part. I guess it’s because I wasn’t raised in a traditional sort of family. I was always afraid I wouldn’t know how to react, or how to interact with new siblings. Let’s face it, I’m a self admitted non-people person, if such a thing exists. But as soon as we stepped into their house and I saw those two little faces, all my fear vanished.” Lex opened his eyes and looked over at Ian who kept his eyes on the road. He continued “I know it’s because you were right there next to me. You have shown me that it’s OK to open myself up. I know that as long as I have you in my life I can deal with other people. My back doesn’t define me any more, thanks to you. So, yeah, I was afraid, and then I wasn’t. You keep me on my toes. I feel like I’m ready to take on the world with you by my side.” Ian glanced over at Lex and smiled saying “I feel the same way about you. You make me feel like I can accomplish anything just as long as you’re there with me.” Turning his eyes back on the road he added “Let’s start small. Instead of taking on the world, let’s start by taking on Cassie tomorrow. You with me?” Lex laughed and snorted “You call taking on Cassie ‘small’?” Ian laughed with him and tried to backtrack “I take it back. I think I’d rather take on the world than Cassie, but I believe that we can do it together. You handled her on your own for how long? I think the two of us might, and I repeat, might, just be able to handle her!” Lex’s phone buzzed with an incoming text. “Speak of the devil! Her flight gets in around 6:15 tomorrow night. She’s going to rent a car so we don’t have to go get her. I’m going to tell her to stay with us for the night and we can get her settled at Ms. Helen’s on Tuesday.” Lex told Ian as he typed out a reply. Ian nodded his agreement. They managed to pull in their driveway shortly before two and hauled their bags in the house, leaving them near the cellar door as most of the clothes were going into the laundry. Ian took a couple of steaks out of the freezer for later and then grabbed two beers from the refrigerator and handed one to Lex. They went out to the patio and enjoyed the mid afternoon sun as it made its way across the sky. They both had to motivate themselves to move when the sun started to dip behind the treetops. Lex managed to get up first and hauled Ian to his feet. Once inside he grabbed the bag with their remaining clean clothes and toiletries and set off down the hall to put things away while Ian took the dirty clothes down cellar to start a load of laundry. Together they prepared supper and cleaned up after. Before settling on the porch in front of the big TV Ian called his parents. Lex hadn’t wanted to tell them about his father until after they came back. Rick answered the phone and Lex listened to Ian explain where they went this weekend and why. Both phones ended up on speaker so it turned into a fourway conversation. Rick and Kathy were happy and excited for Lex. Kathy was thrilled that there would be two more little kids to spoil. She couldn’t wait to meet them. The call ended with her making plans for entertaining the kids while they were here. Apparently Jessie and her brood were coming up the weekend before the wedding and Sean would fly up on Wednesday as there was a big event at the marina that he needed to oversee. Lex and Ian managed to get in a couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy in before horniness took over and they abandoned the TV for better entertainment in the bedroom. Both knew that Cassie would in all likelihood end up in their bed tomorrow night so they took full advantage of the time they had now. Monday morning they were both up early. Ian wanting to get to the shop and catch up on paperwork. The new girl, Brieann was coming in and Ian wanted to start her training. Lex needed to finish the gazebo. The weather was supposed to be nice as it called for an Indian summer day, one of those last truly warm days that fall occasionally brings. Throwing on old shorts and a t-shirt he set off to do just that. The cool morning air felt a little nippy, but as he worked it gradually warmed up until he was glad that he had on shorts. The sealant he was using stunk and he hoped the smell wouldn’t cling to him later. By early afternoon he was almost finished. All he had left was the floor and the stairs. He took a break and stepped back to admire is handiwork. The gazebo practically shone in the sunlight. All the weathered gray had been sanded away and the wood gleamed with its natural honey amber color. Lex pictured him and Ian as they said their vows and smiled. Finishing off his bottle of water he got to work again and a few hours later nodded his approval to himself as he admired the finished project. After cleaning up his supplies and putting everything away for the final time Lex rewarded himself with a long, hot shower. His muscles were a little sore from the work but in a good kind of way. Once he was dressed he looked at the time and saw that Ian would be home soon. Making his way into the kitchen he inhaled the delicious scent of the pork that Ian had put in the crockpot that morning. It had simmered all day long and taking off the lid, Lex stuck a fork into the meat and hummed his approval when it pretty much fell apart. He made quick work of pulling the meat apart. They would be enjoying pulled pork sandwiches once Ian arrived and there would be plenty for Cassie when she got there. Lex was sure she would be hungry, just as he was sure the sun would rise in the east. As he finished with the meat he heard the truck door slam and he smiled to himself. Ian came through the door with a smile of his own and the two embraced like they hadn’t seen each other in ages. “Mmmmm, that smells fantastic,” Ian exclaimed, and then biting down on Lex’s neck he added “You do too!” Lex squirmed under the assault and laughed “You should have smelled me earlier when I reeked of sealant. You’d be singing a whole new tune.” “Did you finish the gazebo today? Ian asked. “Mmm-hmm, it looks amazing in the sunlight. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to really get a look. I hate that the sun starts setting so much earlier.” Ian looked out the slider at the gazebo which was shaded in the waning light. The sun was fully behind the trees but he could still see hues of amber in the dimming light. He admired Lex’s work and told him “It looks amazing. I’m proud of you. I don’t think I would have had the patience to do that. You’ve given us the perfect backdrop for our wedding. I can’t wait.” Lex kissed him and replied “I can’t wait either. Let’s go eat and enjoy the peace and quiet before Hurricane Cassie arrives.” Ian laughed and turned to the counter where Lex had set out the rolls and coleslaw and potato chips. They both fixed huge sandwiches and sat down to enjoy. Ian told Lex that he thought Brieann was going to work out really well. He was hoping that she would be able to handle the business that he normally would take so he could concentrate on getting the foundation up and running and concentrate on scar work. Lex agreed that it was a good plan. After they cleaned up, they both grabbed their laptops and Ian worked on some billing for the shop and a supply order while Lex sifted through his emails that he had neglected. His inbox, while not overflowing, still had a lot to sort through. He was floored by the amount of junk that came through. Most of the work requests that he had received were easy to respond to. He had decided to refer all requests for the next several weeks to a couple of other computer techs that he knew from his college days, not really friends, but more like acquaintances. He didn’t need the work and wanted his time free to concentrate on the wedding. He was just about finished when he heard a car door slam. He and Ian quickly put their computers aside and braced themselves. Sure enough, Cassie came flying through the door and attached herself to Lex like a leech. He hugged her back just as tight until she squeaked and then let go, turning her attention to Ian and latched onto him the same way. Ian laughed and said “Welcome back Cassie!” Cassie’s smile was huge and she informed them “Don’t you mean ‘welcome home’? She laughed when they both rolled there eyes. Lex looked at her and told her “This is our home, get your own, wench.” Cassie shot him the bird, looked at Ian and demanded “Where’s the food?” Ian, having been exposed to Cassie and therefore was corrupted, shot her a look and replied “In the fucking shed Cass, where the hell do you think it should be?” Cassie just turned her back and sauntered into the kitchen like she owned the place. Ian and Lex followed her, smiling at each other. Cassie was back and somehow that made them both happy. Ian still couldn’t get over the amount of food Cassie could eat. She piled two rolls high with pulled pork, slathered them with barbeque sauce and grabbed the rest of the chips and two beers. Lex had already put the coleslaw away knowing Cassie’s aversion to all things mayonnaise related. After Cassie had taken her first huge bite and swallowed it, moaning in ecstasy, she sighed and then commanded “Spill it Nemo, I need details. I’m still pissed you left me hanging so I want every last detail!” Together Lex and Ian went over their eventful weekend while Cassie enjoyed her sandwiches and beer. They explained as much as they could about what Ryan had told them. Lex smiled as he recalled the stories Ryan shared about his mom. He even explained about the whole last and middle name fiasco. Cassie laughed when they told her how Lex got his middle name. Lex handed over his phone and let Cassie scroll through the pictures he had taken. “Oh my God, Lex, they are adorable!” she exclaimed when she saw all the pictures of the girls. “This one has your eyes,” she noticed. Lex went on to explain how they used donor eggs and ended up with each having a biological daughter. He looked at Cassie and admonished “Stop. Right now. I can practically see what you are thinking and you will NOT corrupt those two little girls. This world can barely handle one of you. I will not let you unleash further terror upon the population. Understand?” Cassie laughed and stuck out her tongue then said “You’re no fun, just try and stop me!” “How about if we give you something else to focus on instead?” Ian baited her. Cassie’s eyes focused intently on Ian’s blue orbs and said “Speak.” “Cassie, he’s not a dog and if you won’t behave we won’t let you in on our little plan.” admonished Lex. Cassie pouted for all of two seconds and then said sweetly “Please, continue with what you were going to say my darling Ian.” Ian snorted and shaking his head turned to Lex asking “Are you sure you want her in charge of the foundation?” Cassie’s eyes widened and then just as quickly narrowed as she inquired “Just what foundation are you talking about and what do you two have up your collective sleeves?” Lex filled her in on their idea for a charitable foundation to help those who had suffered extensive scarring from burns or other means. He told her about the work that Seth did at the hospital and how Ian had come up with the idea and how they both though she would be perfect for the job. Lex finished by saying “Cassie, you have absolutely fantastic research skills, you know the ins and outs of marketing, you are the brightest people person I know, and you have the ability to network like no one else can. What do you think?’ Cassie looked quite pensive for a few moments, thinking things through. Lex knew she was mentally weighing the pros and cons. Finally she smiled brightly and said “Ink Well. The foundation should be named the Ink Well Foundation. Think about it. An actual inkwell is a container for ink, right? Ink is a primary tool for a tattoo artist. Ink comes from an inkwell and holds the colors that will create something beautiful. Kind of a play on words. Ink. Well. Well being? Makes sense to me.” Ian and Lex just sat there stunned. Finally Lex found his voice and said “Cassie, you are amazing. That is perfect in every way. Makes total sense. The ink will set them on the path to being well. It worked for me.” Ian voiced his agreement and ruefully admitted to Lex “This means we have to keep her you know. She can’t go back to Seattle. Are you going to be alright with her being within reach of the girls? We might not be able to protect them from her.” Ian was trying to keep a straight face and almost managed it until Cassie belched. The sound that came from her should not have been able to come from a girl. Ian could have sworn the walls shook. He couldn’t hold back his laugh anymore. Lex joined in and when he was finally able to speak he looked at Ian and said “Yeah, we’ll just have to do the best we can. If Ryan and Seth help it’ll be four against one. We might stand a slim chance.’ Cassie finished her beer, wiped her mouth on a napkin and informed them “You’ll have a snowball’s chance in Hell in the middle of August. That’s what you’ll have. So when does this job start?” Lex told her “After the wedding. Ryan said he’d hook us up with a colleague who’s done this kind of thing before and Seth will help with referrals when things are up and running. We have a lot to plan before it will actually get off the ground.” “Speaking of wedding, where are you with that? What’s done and what still needs doing?” Cassie asked. Lex told her that everything was close to being done. He still needed to get fresh mulch for the flower beds, they had scheduled the tent and chairs to be delivered the day before so they wouldn’t have to worry about setting anything up the day of. Kathy was just waiting for Cassie to tell her what day was good and they could get the supplies they needed for the decorations. He reminded her to keep it simple and classy. Duke had everything under control regarding the food. Maggie, his wife was in charge of dessert. Ian said she was an awesome cake decorator, but she may surprised them with something else. Either way, it would be amazing. Cassie took mental note of everything and told Lex to let her know what they needed help with but she was glad it was all under control. Yawning widely she kissed them both and said she was going to bed. She didn’t specify which bed and neither man was surprised later to find her sprawled out across the king size bed in their room, sound asleep after her long day of travel. They just went with it. After brushing their teeth and taking care of their bladders they somehow managed to wrestle Cassie’s limbs into an area smaller than the state of Texas and slid in under the covers, one on each side. It wasn’t the best night’s sleep they ever had, but it was far from the worst. Both men fell asleep happy and that is what counted in the end.
  6. kbois

    Chapter 29

    I totally agree! As for the rings you're just gonna have to wait a few more chapters! 🤐
  7. kbois

    Chapter 29

    It was a relief to write it!
  8. kbois

    Chapter 29

    🤣 Sorry!!!!!
  9. kbois

    Chapter 29

    I'm glad you are ok from your ordeal. I've had small burns from grease and they are definitely the worst. I needed a catalyst for the idea for the foundation to come about but I didn't want it to be anything as horrific as what Lex went thru, but it had to make a definitive impact. Hence the burned legs. I couldn't bring myself to make it any worse. And yes, Lex is definitely gaining an incredible family!
  10. kbois

    Chapter 29

    I truly hope someone is really doing that. What an awesome idea. As far as the tattoo foundation, it's been part of the story from the concept. Just took a while to get there. And really... there is no other choice than Cassie!
  11. kbois

    Chapter 29

    She was born that way!
  12. kbois

    Chapter 29

    His family is definitely a plus for him! There's no doubt Cassie will somehow corrupt the girls!
  13. kbois

    Chapter 29

    The foundation will be getting an official name soon!
  14. kbois

    Chapter 29

    At Lex’s panicked looked Ian had to step in and said “Lex calm down. Cassie knew that this meeting was going to be intense, she’ll be OK and you won’t have to wear pink, I promise. Why don’t you Facetime her and introduce her to everyone. She won’t be mad at you when she sees the girls.” Lex settled down and muttered “Yeah, she’ll see them as minions to mold into her own mini-me’s. Two more Cassie’s. That’s all I need.” Ian just reached in Lex’s back pocket and pulled up the app and hit the prompt to connect. Cassie’s face popped up on the screen within ten seconds. Yeah, she had to have been waiting. Ian was rethinking the pink option, praying that she’d get over it. “LEX! IAN! WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN! I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR FUCKING EVER!” was the first thing they all heard. Luckily the girls were engrossed in their game on the swingset. Ryan and Seth both started snickering. Ian quickly butted in “Cass! Cool it. We’re not alone. So do you want to meet the ‘rents or what?” Cassie’s eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped. “Rents? As in parents? Dad and stepmom type parents? Holy Shit! Lex! Get your face in here!” she yelled. Lex grabbed the phone from Ian and knew he had to seize the moment and as he looked at her in the screen said “You only get to meet them if you promise to forgive me for not calling you sooner and you can’t make either of us wear pink or ANYTHING outlandish at the wedding. We have our outfits and we love them and you can’t change it. Understood?” Cassie could read Lex like a book and decided to let this one slide. She knew how nervous he had been and she was now anxious to see the outcome. “OK Nemo, you win this round, now introduce me!” she demanded. Lex motioned to Ryan and Seth. He pointed the phone at just Ryan and said “Cassie, meet my dad, Ryan Carson. Ryan smiled and waved at her, but didn’t say anything Priceless! The only word in the entire English language to describe Cassie’s expression was priceless. Her silence, however, did not last more than a few seconds. Once she was able to move her jaw back up from the floor the four men heard “Holy Fucking Hell!” Then, “Lex! Get your goddamn face back in the screen so I know you’re not pulling some kind of elaborate prank on me! Oh. My. GOD!” Shocked was putting it mildly. When Cassie showed true emotion she went all out. Lex saw her aura flashing so many colors he couldn’t keep up. Lex put his head next to Ryan’s and pulled the phone back so they were both on the screen. Cassie’s eyes darted from one to the next so fast Lex thought she would pass out. He laughed and told her “You are sitting down, right Cass? There’s a couple of more bombshells and I don’t want you hurting yourself.” Cassie nodded and as she leaned back from the screen Lex could tell she was sitting on her bed with her back against her headboard. “OK, I’m ready. If I pass out call 911. You are just full of surprises today aren’t you?” Lex laughed as he swung the phone around and focused on Seth. “Cassie, this is Dr. Seth Beckett, my dad’s husband.” Once again Cassie’s face morphed into an incredulous expression as she squeaked out “You ARE trying to give me a heart attack aren’t you?” So what else is up your sleeve and don’t think I’ve forgiven you for not calling sooner. Holy Shit!” Lex looked at her again and firmly told her “Put the profanity back in your mouth now. The next surprise does not need to hear that.” He panned his camera over the back yard until the two girls and Lucky were in view and told her “Those are my sisters. Mia and Shannon and their dog, Lucky. Stop thinking what I know is going through your head. You will NOT corrupt them. No if, ands, or buts, got it?” As he looked at Cassie he saw that she was truly shocked. He had never seen his friend like this. She literally did not know what to say so she said everything, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Lex! I’m going to Boston, you told me. I’m going to meet my father. Cassie, I’m gonna puke. Cassie, am I doing the right thing. Cassie, help me! Do you remember those conversations Lex, DO YOU?! Because I do! You went to find a father and holy shit you found an whole family! Jesus, Lex, since when do you go all out when you finally decide something? That’s my thing! I think all that ink has gone to your brain!” Cassie barely took a breath as she ranted. Ryan and Seth were cracking up. So was Ian and even Lex had to smile. Typical Cassie. Ryan mock whispered “Does she have an off button?” Seth added “Has she ever had a psych eval?” Both Lex and Ian answered “NO!” Cassie was still rambling and finally realized they weren’t listening when she had said Lex’s name four or five times and he didn’t answer her. It was the silence that finally got their attention. The look on her face meant business. Lex knew that whatever came out of her mouth next he would not say no to. If she told him to run naked through Harvard Square, he would do it. If she told him to chop off his big toe, he would do it. You did not mess with that look. Instead of some outlandish demand, Cassie’s whole face morphed into a completely calm countenance. Lex saw bright yellow happiness engulf her. Her eyes softened and they all saw the tears shimmer as they threatened to fall. Cassie, totally out of character, merely whispered “I am so happy for you right now.” Lex felt like the world had stopped spinning uncontrollably and everything settled into place where it rightly belonged. He gave a sigh of relief and asked Cassie “So, when are you coming?” Cassie looked pensive for a moment and told him “I’ll see if I can get on an early morning flight Monday if that works for you? Those red eyes are a bitch, they throw me off too much.” Lex told her that would be fine and to text him her fight info and to make sure she booked first class. She deserved it. Ryan and Seth both told her they were looking forward to meeting her in person and they would warn the girls first as well. Cassie just giggled. Lex and Ian made kissy noises at her which she returned and then ended the call. Seth was the first to speak “You have some live ammunition with that one don’t you?” Lex merely said “We’ve been friends almost our entire lives, she knows me. She’s been there every step of the way. Cassie is fiercely loyal and once she accepts you, you have a friend for life. I’d do almost anything for her.” Ryan looked at Lex and told him “You are lucky to have each other, not many people have a friend like that.” Before anything else could be said the girls and Lucky came running over and scampered up the stairs to the deck, the dog’s tail swinging furiously. They were both laughing and Lex smiled at their exuberance. Mia climbed up on Ryan’s lap and ever so sweetly asked “Can we ask them to stay for supper?” Ryan kissed his daughter’s head and countered “Why don’t we take them to Abe and Louie’s? I’m sure if you ask them nicely they might say yes.” Mia turned her big brown eyes to Lex and Ian and in the most polite tone asked “Would like to have supper with us at Abe and Louie’s tonight?” Ian took the lead and winking at Lex replied “We would love to, on one condition. You lovely ladies will be our dates for the evening.” Both girls giggled and there was a chorus of “Yay’s!” from both of them. Ryan told them Abe and Louie’s was a steakhouse they took the girls to on special occasions and this definitely qualified as a special occasion. Seth’s phone buzzed and looking down at it he excused himself. When he returned the girls scampered back to whatever imaginary game they had started, the dog following loyally. Seth’s face wore a concerned expression and Ryan asked if he was alright. Seth explained to the boys that he specialized in burn treatment at Shriner’s and yesterday they had a particular hard case come in. He told them “We had an admission come in yesterday, a young guy, just turned 18 a few weeks ago. He has a full scholarship to MIT and had just started working at one of the local fast food restaurants to help with everyday expenses. The restaurant had just been renovated and had only been reopened a few days. This poor kid was in front of the fryers when the front of the whole unit dropped. It must not have been installed properly, I don’t know, Hot oil basically washed over the lower half of his legs. He has third degree burns over roughly 40% of his legs. A few of his coworkers have second and third degree burns as well, just not as extensive. He’s got a long road ahead of him. I’m worried about infection more than anything. That was the resident on call wanting orders for more pain medication.” Ryan hugged Seth close, comforting him. Doctors saw so much trauma and when we see them it’s easy to forget that they are human too and can be deeply affected by what they see. He looked at Lex and said “Lex, you told us yesterday that Ian covered your scars with a tattoo, can we see it?” Lex smiled and pulling Ian with him, stood up. He faced Ian, with his back to Ryan and Seth and instructed “It’s your creation, you get to reveal it.” Ian put his lips close to Lex’s ear and as he pulled on the hem of his shirt whispered “You just want my hands on you.” As the shirt cleared his head Lex looked at Ian with a shit eating grin and answered “You know it!” Ryan and Seth both gasped when they saw the beautiful mural covering Lex’s back. Seth stepped closer and the doctor in him had to ask “Can I touch?” Now while Lex normally didn’t like to have his back touched, the transformation that Ian created made him more comfortable with it. He slowly nodded and then felt Seth gently probe the various ridges and bumps. It did have a slightly clinical feel to it. Seth remarked “I would have liked to have seen it before so I could get a real sense of the changes.” Ian looked at Lex, who nodded slightly. Ian pulled his phone from his pocket and showed it to Seth. He had taken a few pictures of Lex’s back before he started. It helped when he was working on the mold as a reference tool. Seth took the phone and compared the image on the screen to the image in front of his and finally spoke “Ian, you are fantastically talented. I have never seen such detail and the way some of the images seem to jump off his back is stunning. I’ve met with a few tattoo artists who do this sort of work on scars, but you make them look like amateurs. Have you ever considered working with a hospital and offering your services?” Ian looked at him and replied “No, I’ve never thought about it. I do scar cover up occasionally but it’s not really a big part of my business.” He looked quite pensive for a few moments and then turned to Lex, a huge grin breaking out across his face. “I know what to do with the money! Let’s set up a foundation and fund tattoos for victims of burns and other injuries that result in extensive scarring. We’d have to find out what the laws and such are regarding minors in these situations. The current law is 18 for tattoo consent. I’d like to set a minimum age restriction anyway, like maybe 16 as long as there is parental consent and proper documentation and we can do it legally. Young kids develop too quickly and go through way too many changes in size. Hell, I grew six inches in seven months when I was fifteen. Drove my mom crazy. I’m rambling like Cassie now aren’t I?” Ian turned several shades of red as his enthusiasm went into overdrive. Lex looked at him with nothing but love and said “That is the perfect solution. I think I know who would be the perfect person to help set it up and run it.” Ian nodded and agreed, “Cassie.” Lex confirmed his thought and added “She is such a people person. She’s smart too. She can definitely handle the logistics, we’ll need help with the legal end of things. My financial guy can point us in the right direction and help figure out what we’re going to need to do. You’re a genius you know? I can’t think of anything else that is so close to us. Wow.” Ryan looked over at Seth and offered “Our firm specializes in family law so I’m not sure how much help we can be, but I do have a really good friend who is a corporate lawyer and he’s done this kind of thing before. I’m sure Seth can help you set up a referral network of doctors who work with patients that would benefit from this kind of thing.” Lex looked at Ian again and said “This could really work. It will take a little while to get everything in place, but we can pull it off. Maybe we can even open up a shop here in Boston or maybe in the suburbs? There’s a lot to consider and I suggest we table it for a little while so we can concentrate on the wedding. Once we’re hitched then we can give this our full attention.” While they were engrossed in their discussion no one noticed that the girls were back. They were staring at Lex’s back and it wasn’t until they started giggling that any of the men realized they were there. Shannon, ever the bold one, still giggling, asked Lex “Does that tail cover your butt?” Lex, thankful that he had only removed his shirt for show and tell, replied “Yes, Miss Sassypants it does, and no, you can’t see it.” That was too weird for him. He drew a thick line as to who he would drop his pants for. He didn’t think he would be comfortable showing Ryan or Seth the rest of the tattoo and so, wisely, kept his pants on. The girls moved on and dragged everyone into a game of freeze tag. That led to red light/green light which turned into Red Rover. Lucky generally stayed in the thick of things. She had a strong herding instinct making Lex think there was border collie in her. She was constantly trying to herd her humans and failed miserably. Lex couldn’t help but laugh at the sheer determination of the mutt. Seth had somehow managed to break away and went in the house. When he came back out he had a pitcher of lemonade and some cookies for everyone to snack on. Ryan was sweating just a little, not used to running around so much. The dog, finally worn out way laying down, panting, her tongue freakishly long like her tail. Seth had refilled her water bowl as well. When the cookies had been devoured Ryan asked the boys if they wanted to go back to their hotel before dinner. He had made reservations for six o’clock and it was going on four now. Lex, was a little sweaty and knew that any restaurant you needed reservations for also meant needing nicer attire than the jeans and t-shirts he and Ian were currently sporting. He agreed and Ryan said he would give them a ride. Saturday afternoon traffic usually wasn’t too bad and he was right. After telling the girls and Seth they would see them soon they set off for the hotel. They were lucky and made it there in fifteen minutes. Ryan dropped them off and told them he would pick them up at five forty-five. They assured him they would be outside waiting. Quick showers, sans any playing, had them ready and waiting outside at five-forty. Lex had changed into dark, chocolate brown chinos and a short sleeved, cream colored button up shirt. Ian had stuck with black pants and short sleeved light blue shirt. Ryan pulled up right on time driving the family’s minivan. “Just get in. I know, minivan, but hey, it works when we need to haul around a gaggle of giggling eight year olds.” Not saying a word, Lex and Ian slipped into the middle row, the girls were buckled in the back. Snapping their own belts into place, they were off. It wasn’t a long drive to the steakhouse and taking advantage of the valet parking Ryan pulled up to the front. The new family of six entered the establishment and Ryan gave his name to the hostess who smiled at them and politely asked them to follow her. They were seated at a round table covered in white linen. Ryan and Seth sat next to each other and as their “dates”, Lex and Ian ended up with the girls in between them. Menus were placed in front of each person and Ryan took the offered wine menu. The restaurant had an extensive cellar and had the reputation of being one of the best steakhouses in the city. Lex opened his menu and seeing the prices knew they had to be more than just good to justify the cost. Ryan did say that it was a special occasion and Lex considered sneaking off on the pretense of needing the men’s room and arranging to pay for the meal, but decided against it. He didn’t know Ryan and Seth well enough to predict their reaction and he knew if the situation was reversed he would not want them paying. When their waitress returned Ryan ordered two bottles of wine, a pinot noir and a nice Merlot. He also ordered a Shellfish Tower appetizer which was an assortment of several variations of shellfish appetizers, and would be enough for all of them. Conversation was dominated by the girls wanting to know everything about their two new big brothers. They had apparently decided that Ian was now a brother too. They were sweet kids and Lex and Ian were enjoying the banter. The waitress returned with the wine and Seafood Tower and took their dinner orders as well. The girls both ordered Lobster Mac and Cheese and Lex told them that was one of his favorites. All the adults ordered their favorite cut of steak, Ian and Lex choosing the Rib Rye, Seth got Prime Rib and Ryan went for the Filet Mignon. Lex enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and Ian looked over and smiled at him. The girls had finally ceased their continuous questioning of their brothers allowing the adults to dominate the conversation. Ryan told them stories about Lex’s mom when they were growing up and Lex found out about a whole different side of her. When he was growing up his mom had always seemed so serious. He guessed that as a single mom she had to be. When Ryan spoke of some of the mischief they had gotten into Lex heard of behaviour that reminded him of Cassie and himself when they were kids. Overall, everyone enjoyed their dinner. As the evening progressed Ryan and Lex became more comfortable with each other. Ryan took care of the bill and Lex was actually alright with that. Yes, he had come a long way letting other people take over some of the things that he usually liked to control. Ian had been such a huge part of that and he was thankful. As they prepared to leave Ryan asked them “Are you heading back to Western Mass tomorrow?” Ian was the one who nodded and replied “Yes, now that Cassie is coming on Monday we need to get back. You are more than welcome to come as many days before the wedding as you can. I’d love for you to meet my parents and we have to introduce Cassie to you as well. That may take up a whole day. She can be a little high maintenance.” Lex snorted “You think?” Ryan smiled and said “I’ll have Jen rearrange my schedule. She has a few weeks notice to clear up a few days for me. She’s always on my case about not taking enough time off anyway. I’m sure Seth can arrange coverage as well. I’m thing we can head out that way the Tuesday before the wedding if that’s alright with you. The girls can miss school for a few days. How much can you really miss in third grade?” Seth nodded his agreement and reassured them “I should have no problem getting coverage. My secretary is just as bad as Jen, always telling me I need to take more vacation. We’ve both gotten better since the girls came along. They made us realize exactly how important family is.” The group departed the restaurant and made their way back to the hotel to drop off Lex and Ian. Ryan parked the vehicle and everyone got out to say goodbye. The girls hugged and kissed Lex and Ian making them promise to call at least twice between now and when they arrived for the wedding. Seth hugged both men and told them he was really looking forward to the wedding. Ryan hugged Ian and then pulled Lex in for his own hug. As he was wrapped in the warm embrace Lex heard Ryan softly tell him “I am so happy you are in my life now. I am extremely proud of you and I know your mom would be too.” Lex hugged him back and managed to utter “Thank you’” softly before stepping back. Ian took his hand as they watched everyone pile back into the minivan and pull out into the light traffic. Ian looked at Lex and commented “I think we can consider this weekend a success.” Lex turned to him, kissed his cheek and replied “Yes, we can.”
  15. kbois

    Chapter 27

    I will only go so far as to say that there is a good probability that you might be right 😁
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