“Link, buddy get off that damn phone and get ready for school,” Blu said to Link as he passed by his door.
Link ran his hand through his long hair which had grown longer over the summer. “I’ll call you back after school. Ugh, Melissa, just let me call you back. Please?” He said in a gruff tone hoping his Pop wasn’t lurking about in the hallway. He ended the call, sliding his phone into the back pocket of the new skinny jeans he’d bought and grabbed his backpack off his bed before heading out of the bedroom.
“Link–” Kyle started to say prior to Link shoving him out of the way as he came out of his room.
“I’m coming. Jesus, do you guys think I’m deaf?” Link grumbled and shook his head as he passed by.
Blu entered the hallway from their bedroom, he glanced at Link stomping away from Kyle and sighed.
“What now?” Blu asked his husband.
Kyle shrugged his shoulders, “I have no clue, I was just gonna ask if he needed lunch money.”
Smiling Blu shook his head, “Well, now I guess he’ll have to come to you if he wants anything. That’s gonna sting. He should be nicer to his daddy, I guess. You ready Blondie?”
“Yeah,” Kyle walked towards the steps, turning back to face Blu. “I like your new tie, it highlights the color of your eyes.” He winked before heading down the stairs.
Blu grinned as he followed his husband, “We’ll test how much you like the tie. In your office. Later today.” Kyle blushed and stumbled into the wall. His smile turned into a smug grin knowing even after all their years together he could still make his husband blush.
“Excuse me, sorry pop. Hi, Dad, nice shade of red you got goin’ on,” Cody chuckled as he ran past them on the stairs. “I didn’t want you guys to leave without me.”
Chuckling Kyle smirked at his son who had definitely grown over the summer, the boy has a fire inside him that just emits confidence since he won his awards for baseball.
“Well let’s get this show on the road. Shall we?” Kyle said as he put his hand on the small of Blu’s back directing him toward the door.
Levi and Brody were already inside the Escalade sucking face, while Link was leaning against the SUV texting on his phone. Cody sprang into the back in the front row of back seats with the energy only a teenager could have. Blu marveled with envy that he’d give just about anything to be that energetic again. In his late twenties, he was still fit, but tired by the end of the day. Looking over at Kyle his thoughts went to how much energy Kyle had dragged out of him the night before. Nearly ten years together and they still went at it like teenagers. He’d never get sick of that.
“Bitch,” Lincoln muttered and stuffing his phone into his pocket as he hopped inside the vehicle.
“Language,” Blu admonished the kid. He’d been trying to curb his own foul mouth but old habits died hard. And with that Kasey got richer. He was certain he contributed to at least sixty percent of the kid's savings account while Kaleb the other forty percent. Come to think of it, it only seemed to be when he and Kaleb were together that they needed to contribute at all.
“Whatever,” Link uttered as his head bowed staring at the floor, his elbows resting on his knees. “Nobody would understand.” He whispered the latter to himself worrying his teeth on his bottom lip.
Link sat up quickly turning around to see his brother and Brody. “Do you two think you could stop sucking face for at least two seconds. Geez, it’s like your connected at the lips like Siamese twins.” His tone surly and gruff.
Levi glared at his twin, “Has anybody told you that you’ve been acting like an asshole lately?”
Kyle slammed his hands on the steering wheel before turning in his seat. “I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I’ve had enough. You guys wanna act like little kids? We can start treating you like it then.”
Blu knocked on the door of Kyle’s office door letting himself in. Kyle held up his finger as he finished up his phone call. He smiled and waved his tie at him waggling his eyebrows.
“I’m sorry Kevin, I don’t know why he’s not getting his homework turned in on time.” Kyle rolled his eyes acting as if he were being reprimanded by the principal. “We will try to figure out what is going on. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Mhmm. Yep. Okay. Bye.” He said slamming the phone down on the receiver, smoke practically rolling out of his ears. “Why would Link not be turning in his homework?”
Dropping into a chair in front of Kyle’s desk. “Kevin could just be being an asshole. You know he wants to be the middle of a Jared and Kyle sandwich right. Have you seen the way he blushes when you two are around?” Blu smirked.
Kyle breathed a slow long-drawn breath, “Did I miss something with Lincoln? He’s been so distracted and off since we got back home.”
“It seems as if we both missed something. Maybe we should cut his band practice’s a bit and keep an eye on his school work. Link’s been through a lot of changes, Blondie, maybe he’s not coping as well as we thought.”
“I don’t know, you should’ve seen him on tour.” Kyle frowned, “He was so happy and full of excitement. But, over the last few weeks, it’s been like something stomped that enthusiasm out of him.” He looked out the window watching the clouds drift by in the sky.
Blu watched Kyle as he contemplated Link’s behavior over the last month trying to see when the change occurred. The light bulb went on, he clicked his fingers pointing toward his husband.
“The girl, she’s new. He’s always got his head stuck in his phone talking or texting her. Where did she come from, I wonder?” Blu said wondering.
Looking back at Blu it dawned on Kyle who he was referring to. “Melissa.” His fists balled up on the desk, “She’s from the other band that was on tour. I didn’t like her from the start, she had an attitude and wore all black clothes looking like a vampire with all the weird makeup and…” A shiver ran through his body, “I hope she didn’t pressure him to use drugs. Nah, Lincoln is to smart for that.”
Blu leaned forward resting his arms on the desk, “Since when do you judge people by what they wear honey? What is it you really don’t like about her, although the drug thing is a concern? A big one!” he answered worriedly.
“She just gave off this weird vibe, I can’t explain it.” Kyle loosened his tie, “I left him go to that wrap party when the tour ended. He followed his curfew that I set. God, what did I let our little boy get into?”
Standing up Blu circled the desk approaching his husband who slid his chair back so he could sit in his lap. He slid his arms around him holding him in place to steal the comfort he needed. “You didn’t do anything. He’s sixteen, soon to be seventeen, he’s not a little kid anymore. And… as you always remind me, we have to let them have the freedom to make some mistakes. Even if it kills us to watch, we have to trust him. But let’s just be observant for a week or so, if we’re lucky it’s just the girl and it will fizzle out. Apart from the new personality disorder, there aren’t any signs of him doing drugs.” Blu kissed Kyle gently trying to comfort him.
“I feel so useless,” Kyle muttered after the kiss ended.
“Said every parent, ever.” Blu wiped his tie against Kyle, “Now about this tie…”
Kyle smirked at his husband, “That tie makes me want to do things to you that would make wolves howl in the darkness of night.” He kissed the man.
“I’ll lock the door,” Blu jumped from Kyle’s lap.
As the week went by Lincoln’s behavior continued to deteriorate. He looked like he had lost weight, his new skinny jeans sagged barely being kept held in place by his hips, and the darkness under his eyes appeared like he hasn’t been sleeping. Kyle pulled Blu aside, “Babe, I’m really worried about Link.” Closing his eyes and holding his breath a moment before looking at his husband, “Something is really wrong.”
Blu winced knowing that it had now become critical, he’d wanted to trust Lincoln to come to them but he hadn’t. “Then let’s get to the bottom of it now. He’s at band practice so we start here at home.” He threw his head in the direction of the stairs. “LEVI, BRODY, CODY!” he shouted up the stairs.
Only Levi and Brody appeared. “Where’s Cody?”
“Cody!” Kyle shouted. The teenager stomped down the stairs.
“What?” Cody asked, “I was talking to Matt about baseball.”
“Well as hugely as important as that is,” Blu huffed, “I want you boys to spill. Dad and I are worried. What the hell is going on with Lincoln, is he using drugs?”
Cody laughed uncontrollably, “You guys are so far off. Do you really think Link would do such things after his mom’s habit?”
“He’s got a point,” Levi agreed.
Brody shrugged his shoulders, “He iced us out when his attitude started.” Levi gave his boyfriend sad eyes, his gut squeezed at his pain. Leaning over he kissed Levi’s shoulder then rest his temple against him.
“Well, Cody, can you tell us what we are missing?” Kyle asked their son.
Cody looked at both his dads, the crease in his forehead prominent as he shifted under the scrutiny. But there was no way he was going to betray Link, not ever. “I don’t know, I’ve got homework to finish.” He jumped from his seat to head back to his room.
“He knows something.” Kyle shook his head glancing at their family members. “But, I won’t force him to betray his confidence from Lincoln. Those two have been tight since Cody was sick.”
“Well, we don’t know anything, the only other person who might know is Bella. She’ll spill her guts for a chocolate bar. Try her.” Levi spat out angrily.
“Blu, do you want to call her? Or should I?” Kyle scooted to the edge of the couch, clenching his hands into fists.
“You boys finish your homework. If we find anything out we’ll let you know. Well, depending on what it is anyway.” The boys ran off upstairs then Blu focused on Kyle. “Let’s go to the office, we can talk to her together. I don’t really think it’s drugs, but that’s only because I may have gone through his room. Please don’t be mad. You were just so worried and I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Trust me, I did the same thing three nights ago.” Kyle testily stood up taking Blu’s hand, “We can use the speakerphone in the office.”
Bella and her roommate, Stacey, walked into their dorm room after their last lecture both flopping down on their respective beds.
“Ugh! That professor is sooo boring I could barely stay awake.” She groaned her arm falling across her body.
“You’re not wrong.” Stacey chuckled. “I’m going to grab a quick shower, do you want to grab something to eat after?”
Bella twirled her hair around her finger, “Ya, we can grab something at that Chinese joint on the corner.”
“Done.” Stacey hopped up from her bed grabbing her toiletries and towel. “I won’t take long.” Sweeping out of the room.
Bella picked up her phone thumbing through to check her messages and email. She startled when it rang in her hand. The quirky picture her dads put on her phone of them staring at her as if she were in trouble. Her pop had told her that he’d done it to remind her to behave.
Tapping the answer call button, “Hello? Before you ask I’m doing fine.” Bella rolled her eyes, “And I’m eating vegetables.”
“Hi sweetheart, dad’s here too.” Pop said.
“Hi, Daddy!” Bella said sweetly, she truly did miss her dad's.
“Sort of, it’s still school whether you’re here or not.” She laughed.
Kyle chuckled, “Ya, we realize that.” Clearing his throat, “Honey, the reason we are calling isn’t to make you feel like we are checking up on you. We uh… Have you talked to Lincoln recently?”
“Shit,” she whispered hesitating to say anything.
“Bella we are worried about him.” Kyle sighed, “He has isolated himself from all of us. He is standoffish, and he isn’t sleeping or eating.”
“I…umm… shit!” Bella fumbled trying to sit up warring with herself whether to blow the whistle or stay quiet and keep Link’s confidence. But her dads sounded really worried, shit what should she do? “Has he told you anything at all?” She asked hopefully.
“Look, sweetheart. I know you don’t want to betray Link, but he’s really struggling and we can’t sit by anymore hoping he’ll come to us. He’s making himself ill. He looks like hell. No one’s had a civil word from him in nearly two months although it’s gotten worse over the last month.” Pop said his voice sounded off like he was really worried and that isn’t like him. Dad is the worrier, pop would actually pop immediately without a thought.
“I don’t know. I promised him I wouldn’t say anything. He told me he had the situation handled. You really need to talk to him though. It’s not like he’s going to be able to keep the secret for long.” Bella squeaked. “Shit, now I really have said too much. Look, I don’t want to betray Link, okay. If he can’t talk to you guys I still want him to be able to trust me. And being so far away–”
“Honey,” Kyle’s voice trembled, “We understand, we just don’t want anything to happen to Lincoln. We have to respect your decision, we will be in touch soon. Although, if we can’t get Link to talk to us expect another phone call girlie. And, you will tell us what’s going on. Understand?”
Bella sighed heavily into the phone squeezing the thing harder than was probably safe. “Sure.”
“Love you baby girl,” Kyle said with a fondness trying to soften his previous statement.
“Love you both too.” She felt her eyes stinging. “Dad, pop, it’s not what you’re both thinking. It’s not drugs or anything, but it is going to be life-changing. Please go easy on him, he’s beating himself up enough.”
The phone call with Bella had only disconnected and began ringing from an unknown number. Kyle picked the receiver up quickly.
“Yes, this is Kyle Waters.”
“Yes, I’m his dad.”
“He’s at work?” He gave Blu a quizzical look, which in turn Blu shrugged his shoulders looking confused.
“Since when does he work there?”
“Okay, we are on our way. Does he need an ambulance?” Kyle grabbed Blu’s arm closing his eyes.
“Five minutes,” Kyle nearly shouted as he hung the phone up.
“We have to go. Now!” Kyle stood patting his pocket for his keys, “Link passed out. The guy said he’s awake now but he doesn’t look good.”
“Fuck,” Blu reached behind Kyle grabbing the keys off the table handing them to Kyle.
They practically ran to the door yelling to the boys they’d be back. As the door opened a lady stood at the threshold with her hand poised over the doorbell. She squeaked and startled at the two imposing men staring at her slack-jawed. She held a hand to her chest.
“Can we help you?” Kyle asked hurriedly.
“Blondie, you go I’ll handle this.” Blu quickly kissed Kyle before he ran to the car.
“Mister Waters, I’m Ms. Grant from the Department of Family Services.” She looked at the man, “May we come in?”
Who’s we? Blu wondered. He stepped back from the door as the lady stepped inside he noticed a gangly boy standing behind the social worker trying to stay invisible. Blu’s eyes scanned over the short pudgy woman who had a prehistoric grandmotherly vibe, spotting her County Identification with her picture and showing her first name of Penelope. Good God, is the past trying to catch up with us? Blu thought to himself.
“Does my husband need to be here for this? He’ll be back shortly. Do you need us to take in this handsome young man?” Blu gave what he hoped was a warm comforting smile to the boy peeking out from behind the woman.
“Can we sit down please?” Ms. Grant asked as she took the little boys hand in hers.
“Of course, of course.” Blu wrung his hands together nervously. “come into the living room. Can I get you both something to drink? Ice tea? Lemonade? Sorry, we don’t keep soda in the house.”
“Water would be nice,” Ms. Grant said with a smile turning to the boy, “Jonathan, would you like something?” The boy just shook his head.
Blu went to the kitchen grabbing two glasses, filled the first one drinking it down in two gulps. The boy was the spitting image of his dad when he was a kid. He was anxiously hoping like hell his dad hadn’t cheated on his mom. He filled the other taking it back to Ms. Grant setting it in front of her.
“Now, tell me what you need. I’ll see if we can help.”
Ms. Grant took a sip of her water, placing the glass back on the coffee table. “Well, did you know Kristen Montgomery?”
Blu wracked his brain. “Uh, yes we went to high school together.” Jesus his dad cheated with a girl he went to high school with. Fuck! He vaguely remembered kissing her at the graduation party. Ew, gross.
“Well,” Ms. Grant pulled some documents out of her portfolio sitting them on the coffee table, one of them was a birth certificate. “You may want to look at that.” She motioned to the document.
He picked up the certificate expecting to see his dad’s name under ‘Father,’ but nope there stood the name, ‘Blu Sky Waters’. His entire body started shaking, he frowned looking up at the woman. “Are you sure this is right? I’m… um… well gay. You know… married to a man and all that.” He rambled anxiously, flapping his hand around like a loon. Fuck Kyle is going to kill him. But on the other hand, he knew his kid or not they would take him into their home. Blu believed to himself.
“I’m sure,” Ms. Grant nodded. “Before Kristen passed she wrote a letter to you explaining the circumstances. It’s in the envelope sitting with Jonathan’s medical records.”
He stared at the woman not sure what to do, he glanced at the young boy who looked scared and worried. His heart broke into a million pieces. How could this happen? How could this young boy be his child? He’d only ever been with boys, although, his one kiss with a girl happened to be the boy's mother.
“Um… I don’t. What I mean to say is…” Blu slumped. “I have no idea what to say. I don’t understand. Maybe I should read the letter?” he asked hoping for some type of direction because he was clueless and needed someone to tell him what to do.
Ms. Grant nodded, “I think it might help fill in the gaps.”
Blu quickly took the letter out of the envelope, he sat back in the chair with one leg crossed over the other while he read it. The young boy observed the man while he read. When he gasped and his hand covered his mouth while he read, the boy folded into himself trying to become invisible. He didn’t want to be sent away, even though he knew this was his birth father and had dreamed of meeting him one day he was afraid that he wouldn’t be wanted because his mother had lied to the man he is sitting in front of. Jonathan immediately felt a connection with his birth father, and he seemed really nice. He didn’t want to go into foster care. From what they’d told him his father and his husband had fostered and adopted multiple children. He’d always been an only child, if these men – his birth father and husband – had other kids it meant that he’d finally have brothers and sisters. Jonathan wanted that. He looked around the house at the photo’s on the walls and general stuff lying around that had been haphazardly left behind. It looked like people lived here, a family, but would they accept him when they already have a family.
“I get to keep him right. He’s my son, my flesh and blood. He stays with me, right?” Blu said to the woman desperately. “He’s not leaving here, he belongs with us. Here should be here with his family.”
Jonathan’s insides warmed with hope at his father’s words. Could it be possible that the man really wanted him as much as his words expressed? He wondered if he would be able to share a room with one of the other kids. Then he didn’t have to be alone anymore. Sure, his mom had been fun and loving but it’s not the same as someone his own age to share secrets and play games with.
Ms. Grant smiled, “He’s your son. I just need a few signatures, for you to take custody of Jonathan. Kristen was quite specific as to how he came to be, we did investigate her claims and found corroborating witnesses.” She pulled out a stack of official documents, along with the boy's Social Security card. “You understand once you sign these documents,” she paused, “you’re legally responsible for your son?”
Blu couldn’t sign the documents fast enough, he glanced every so often at the young boy with the warmest of smiles. He followed Ms. Grant out to her car and retrieved his son’s belongings. He carried the few garbage bags and a gym bag back inside, then went back for three cardboard boxes. Because he’d come directly from his former house to the Waters’ residence they let him bring what he thought he’d need. Once the young boy's belongings were in the house, Blu went back to the living room to find Jonathan parked where he’d left him. The boy sat with his hands clasped in his lap with tears on his cheeks.
“Hey, hey,” Blu said kneeling next to him speaking in a soothing tone, “no tears, you’re safe here.” He wiped the tears from the boy's cheeks. The young boy looked everywhere but at Blu and didn’t move a muscle. “Let’s take you up to your room. I hope you don’t mind sharing, you have a brother, three actually. Cody, that’s who you’ll be sharing with.” Blu stood trying to get past the awkwardness. “He’s used to sharing, you’ll love him. He likes baseball, do you like baseball?” He held out his hand to see if Jonathan would take it. The boy hesitated but then silently took Blu’s hand and they walked to the front foyer to collect his things. Just as they reached the door, it flew open and slammed against the wall. Jonathan jumped behind Blu with the unexpected chaos.
“You leaving?” Kyle asked Blu with a raised brow, as he had an arm wrapped around Link to stop him from swaying.
“Nah, Blu shook his head. But we do need to talk. Have Link lay down in Bella’s room for the moment and I’ll meet you in Cody’s room in a few.” Blu reached back to check if his son was still there. It was the weirdest thing he felt connected to his kids, and he loved them fiercely but this somehow seemed different. Maybe it was just instinct kicking in from when the twins were younger and wanting to protect them. They didn’t really need that anymore, but this young boy did. He felt confused, and a little guilty for feeling the way he did. The connection with this young boy felt instant.
Kyle got Lincoln up to Bella’s room, having him lay on the bed. He took off Link’s tennis shoes and sat down alongside him. “Buddy, I know something is wrong. You need to trust us, we’re here to help you. You get some rest before supper. We can talk later.” Kyle leaned over placing a kiss on the young man's forehead. “We love you Lincoln.”
Link had tears in his eyes, “I love you too, Dad.”
Kyle stood and walked to the doorway glancing back at Lincoln, gently tugging the door shut before walking into Cody’s room. Blu stood with a young boy who looked kind of familiar, but not quite. They were going through a gym bag looking for something. His husband looked up at him and shared a sad smile. Clearing his throat he introduced them.
“Hey, Blondie. Let me introduce you to Jonathan Waters,” Blu said with a confidence he didn’t feel.
Kyle looked between Blu and the boy with a confused expression, then walked closer and knelt down to the boy's level. “Hi, I’m Kyle.”
Jonathan’s eyes met Blu’s while he stood silently, his dad nodded to him. “Hello,” he whispered moving slightly closer to his father. The young boy had spoken so quietly Kyle almost didn’t hear him.
“So, Jonathan Waters? That’s a good name, I happen to love it.” Kyle smiled at the boy who was practically attached to Blu’s leg.
“Jonathan is my son. He’s nine almost ten. Sadly his momma just passed away so he’s come to live with us. His family.” Blu’s voice gravelly and thick with emotion.
Kyle sat down on the floor as he absorbed the new information, nodding his head. “Well,” Kyle looked to the boy, “Jonathan, welcome to the family. You can call me Kyle or whatever you are comfortable with. I’m used to being called lots of things since I’m the Principal of the school.” Kyle smiled at his own expense, trying to joke with the boy.
Smiling affectionately at Kyle, Blu brushed his son’s hair back off his face as if it was Lincoln, Levi, or Cody. Probably not Levi since nobody was allowed to touch his hair without consequences. The young boy tensed so he pulled his hand away quickly. It’s going to take some time.
“I was thinking we’ll put Jonathan and Cody together and maybe we can change the game room into a bedroom for Link, he’d be able to keep all his music and instruments in there. Have his own privacy, it might help a bit. That way Bella still has her room when she visits from college.” Blu was nervous at what his husband was thinking.
“That sounds okay to me,” Kyle studied the boy's face, “You really look like your daddy.” He said with a smile.
The young boy gave Kyle a half-smile, he glanced at Blu then back to Kyle and shrugged his shoulder.
“He actually looks like his grandpa at the same age. I’ll show you both some photo’s later.” Blu smiled.
“Jonathan, do you like pizza?” Kyle asked.
He nodded his head silently.
“I want to get some food in Link, babe. So if it's okay with you, we’ll just have pizza.” Kyle said with a smile toward their newest son.
“Sounds good. Look Blondie, I don’t want to pack Link’s stuff up, Jonathan can stay in Bella’s room until the weekend and we’ll take the two boys shopping. New furniture for Jonathan and whatever Link is going to need down in his room. We’ll need to get school supplies for Jonathan too.” Blu said absently while his mind ran a mile a minute. “And a phone, and a computer, and–”
Kyle belly laughed, “Babe, I get it. We need to speak to Lincoln after dinner. I told him to rest until the food was ready. And then left no room at not discussing whatever.” Afterward, he stood up, “I’m gonna order four pizzas the little guy probably needs one for himself. Right, Jonathan?”
“I like sausage and mushroom.” He stated shyly. That still made Blu smile because it was the first thing he’d said without any prompting. But then again everyone loves pizza.
“Okay, then we will get that too.” Kyle smiled as he headed to order the food.
At the dinner table, the family sat around it. There was an underlying tension radiating from the teens, waiting on Lincoln to explode as had been all too familiar as of late. However, he sat there quietly eating his pizza.
Cody looked at the smaller kid, “Okay, since nobody else has done it.” He smiled at the boy, “I’m Cody.”
“I’m Levi, and this is my boyfriend Brody. We live in the room next to the one you’ll be sharing with Cody. Which I guess is your room.” Levi chuckled lightly.
Link looked across the table before snidely stating, “I’m Lincoln, and just who are you?”
“Don’t be a dick, Lincoln.” Cody angrily admonished Lincoln fed up with his attitude.
“Fuck!” Link dropped his pizza on the table. “I’m sorry okay? I’m worried, I’m tired, I can barely think about more than…” He stopped talking. “Can I be excused? I am sorry for being a jerk.”
“Nope, Lincoln stay put for a minute then you can be excused. Guys,” Blu looked around the table. There are just too many penises in this house. “This is my son, Jonathan. He’s come to live with us permanently just like you guys did. After you introduce yourselves you can get to know him a little bit without Dad and my interference. We’ll be upstairs, helping Link pack his stuff ready to move–”
Lincoln had panic in his eyes, “You’re kicking me out? I said I was sorry, I honestly didn’t mean to be a jerk.”
“Oh shit, of course, we aren’t kicking you out. We’d never do that, we’re just converting the game room into your bedroom because of all your music gear. You need space and privacy. Just like Levi and Brody, that’s all.” Blu stated quickly.
Lincoln leaned back in a chair breathing a sigh of relief, “That sounds fine, but I need to sell my music stuff.”
“The eff you will,” Blu said, “Plus it was only an excuse for us to talk to you without these guys knowing. I ain’t packing any of your shit. That’s all you bud,” he said laughing, “now move your ass.”
“Okay,” Link said quietly, “you’re not gonna like our discussion. Maybe the guys should pack my stuff to leave.”
“Zip it, Abraham, more action, less yakkin’.” Blu stood from the table motioning for Kyle to move his ass.
“Okay boys, enjoy getting to know one another,” Kyle smiled at the boys, “Pop and I are gonna go talk to your brother.” He said sliding out of his chair.
They all moved toward the stairs when they heard Levi, “Don’t worry, Pop swears all the time. He’s getting better, god knows his mouth has cost him a fortune. You should talk to your cousin Kasey and get in on some of the action when he’s not around…”
“Shut up, shithead, I can hear you. Do not corrupt your brother while we’re up here.” Blu shouted at the kids.
“Pop, if little kids get a dollar,” Levi smirked and shouted, “I want five.”
“I’ll give you five, five seconds to hide before I come down there and… Ow, what? The kid’s a menace.”
“Lincoln is our priority at the moment,” Kyle chuckled. The kids could hear the door close.
The three of them sat down on Lincoln’s bed so they were all facing each other. Lincoln fidget with a loose thread on his comforter before making eye contact.
“I’m sorry I treated everybody like crap, and for disrespecting the both of you,” Lincoln said glancing at his dad’s. “I really screwed up… Bad… Like really, really bad.”
Kyle reached over taking Lincoln’s hand in his, “Son, we are here for you no matter what. You need to trust us.”
He eyed his dads, before closing his eyes, and blew out a breath. He attempted to speak once he’d opened his eyes again. “Do you remember, Melissa,” Link said wiping a tear away, “from the tour?”
Kyle nodded, “I remember her.” He said calmly, taking a deep breath preparing for whatever was to come.
“She’s pregnant.” That was all he said waiting for the explosion from his dads, or for them to kick him out; something. Some kind of consequence of his actions.
“Fuck,” Kyle said as he pulled Link into a hug. “So she is pregnant. When is the baby due?” He was trying to do the math in his head, but failing miserably.
“That’s your first question?” Blu asked incredulously. “Don’t bite my head off Link, but are you sure it’s yours? And is this why you forged our signatures to get a job? And is she planning to keep it? Why didn’t you come to us? They’re only some of the questions I have.” Blu finished winded.
Kyle kept an arm around Lincoln, reaching out to take Blu’s hand, “It wasn’t my only question, but damn I’m relieved it isn’t drugs,” he said with a sigh, “I thought I failed you. You pulled away from all of us, Link. Then you lost all this weight and the not sleeping, I mean you look like a character from the Walking Dead.”
Link looked at his dads, “Okay, first, I would never do drugs.” He made sure to make eye contact with both of the men. “Second, Melissa wants an abortion. I told her she would get one over my dead body, she isn’t killing my baby.”
Blu softened when Link said the latter, that would have killed him too if someone wanted to abort his baby. “I’m not sure you get a choice Link, in this country, a woman has a right to choose and rightly so. What else has she considered?”
“I’ve argued with her,” Lincoln huffed a breath, “every time I’ve been on the phone or texting it has been to her. I want to keep the baby myself. She said, ‘If I want the baby, she wants no part of it. Ever.’ I’ve been working doing odd jobs until I got hired at the grocery store. Mister Smith has tried giving me as many hours as the law allows but it’s hard with school. I’ve saved every penny I earned. I want this baby, it’s part of me, who I am.”
“Okay, buddy. I understand, now let’s assume that you’re keeping the baby.” He held up his hand to hold off Lincoln’s heated words. “Let’s think about this rationally Lincoln, you have to have a plan in place. She can really make your life hard here and we need to be prepared. You, also need to be prepared for how life-changing this is. And the first thing is education, you will finish school and some sort of college is a requirement or school of the arts. You can’t have a kid and not be prepared to support them. Do you understand?” Blu narrowed his eyes at Link. “This part is not negotiable, you have a lot of talent, it might just take a little longer for you to get everything done. You kids are a handful, and your dad and I were prepared for you. You're flying a little blind here Lincoln. We’ll–”
“Babe! Blu!” Kyle said with a raised voice, “You got the kid shaking, can you calm down a bit before you give him a panic attack?”
“Shit sorry Link.” Blu smiled ruefully. “I just want you to have everything you want. You have a support system; a big one, but most of the work is, unfortunately, going to fall on you. I just want you to be as prepared and ready as you can be. I love you, buddy, if this is what will make you happy, then we’ll help in any way we can. But in good conscience, we can’t do it for you. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Link calmed down a bit, at least the shaking had stopped. “I know the baby is my responsibility, that’s why I didn’t come to you guys. I thought it had to be me doing everything. I was stupid, I know you and Dad would be there for me if I needed it. But, I wanted to show I’m not just a dumb kid. I even quit the band so I could work. I agree to work harder in school, it’s just that I barely get any sleep now.”
“Look, I guess we are getting ahead of ourselves. We aren’t going to make you quit your job but you are going to dial back on the hours. And you are going to see if the band will take you back. For now, anyway, can we all agree on that?” Blu asked looking between Kyle and Lincoln.
“Pop, I can’t ask the band to take me back,” Lincoln said with respect and held his hand up to fend Blu off for a moment. “When the baby is born, between school, work, and the baby I won’t have time for the band and gigs. I know I’m letting everybody down, but I have to think of the baby. He or she deserves the best, like Dad and you gave us.”
Blu’s eyes stung as tears reached out for the young boy, sacrificing something so huge that has meant everything to him at such a young age was breaking his heart. He swallowed around the lump in his throat. “You won’t be giving up music altogether though, will you? You love it Link it’s what you were born to do. I’m sure of it. You’ve worked so hard buddy.”
Kyle smiled at how Blu was trying to compromise with their son. “Link, you could always go to school and teach music like I did.” He placed his hand on Link’s shoulder, “College is close by, and I happen to know a school director that would love to hire his son after he graduated college.” Smirking at his husband, “he even seems like a pretty good guy.”
“Narcissistic much?” Blu scoffed. “Your dad’s right though there are plenty of options. None of which need to be sorted tonight. We love you Link, unconditionally. How about we go back downstairs, you can meet your new brother, and apologize to your other brothers for being a dick for the past couple of months. We don’t have to tell them yet if you're not comfortable. But you will have to at some point. But you being a dick, stops now. Are we clear?”
“I’ll apologize and I’m gonna tell them the truth,” Link took a deep breath, “they deserve my honesty.” He smiled at his dads, “Do you know how bad it sucks to hide stuff from them? Levi is like a walking lie detector for me.” He shrugged his shoulders, “it was easier being a dick so he couldn’t look me in the eyes.”
“Oh, buddy. Let’s go, have some dessert. Cos’ there sure as shit ain’t going to be any pizza left. We’ll break into your candy stash, whack it with some ice cream and watch ‘Chucky.’” Blu laughed as he got off the bed. “That should prepare you for fatherhood, and so close to what I and your dad have been going through.”
Link stood and walked to the door turning to his dad's, “No Bride of Chucky! Other than Grandma and Elsie women are evil.” He said as he trotted out the door.
“Hey,” Blu said following his son and husband out of the room. “What about your sister, she’s not evil. Just a little mean and condescending sometimes.”
Link shrugged his shoulders as he walked down the stairs, “She’s alright, she said she didn’t spill the beans to you two. I’ll keep her.” He said as walked into the dining room. “So, I owe all of you guys an apology for bein’ a dick to you. Levi, I love you but if I wasn’t a dick you’d have known I was lying. Also, how do all of you feel about being an uncle?”
Levi’s mouth opened and closed a few times, “I think as weird as it sounds that might have been the nicest thing you ever said to me.” He scratched his head, “Uncle?”
“Ya, you know what occurs after the bird and the bees thing.” Lincoln joked. “Seriously though, you’re all going to be uncles, including Jonathan.”
Thank you guys for your patience and support as my life continues with its own chaos. This book will publish one chapter a month until my life finds a calm in the storms of its own. @Bndmetl is doing a side story about Teddy's Security Company, she will publish it at her own pace once she get its it written far enough along. I hope each of you continue to follow along in the lives of the Waters family, we have a lot of plans for the entire family in this book.
Remember we love comments and reactions, it guages us to know how each chapter is received by you the readers.
Those wanting to participate as our beta team, or as an editor let us know. Those already on the beta team we will start sending out the next chapter over the next few weeks.