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Life's Struggles - 11. Home Is Where The Heart Grows

Kyle had called Teddy who had offered his private jet to chauffeur them to California, while the members traveling were packing. Lincoln and Sage’s bags were packed rather quickly, although the baby’s bag was taking a bit to organize, and somehow it ended up becoming three bags. One bag contained diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, and bibs. The second bag held various onesies and cute boy’s clothes. The third bag was filled to the brim with as many diapers as Link could cram into it, as he wasn’t sure if they had enough.

Sage looked at the baby’s bags, “Do we have enough of those barf rags? Those will smell nasty after he burps on them.”

Link pulled the contents of the first bag out looked at them and yanked yet another baby bag out of the corner, “I think we need more, oh, and his little tennis shoes, or should I bring his little Timberlands?”

“Guys,” Kyle said getting their attention then rolling his eyes, “you don’t need all of that, just bring enough for a day or so. Then either me or pop will take you to get anything else you didn’t bring.”

Lincoln held up two bags, “these are diapers, formula, and Sage’s ‘favorite’ barf rags. And this one has bottles and wipes.”

“These two contain clothes and his little shoes. Oh and more diapers in case he’s a real shitter,” Sage smiled proudly, “Can’t ever be too prepared.”

“Fine,” Kyle huffed, “just hurry up and get the bags into the Escalade, pop is already in there with the motor running.” He turned to leave the boys muttering to himself. “Never seen a man so excited to get rid of a cat than a baby entering the world.”

Lincoln started stringing the baby bags shoulder strap around Sage, by the time he was done Sage looked more like a pack mule he had four baby bags and then their two duffel bags. “Move it baby… Nope, you’re not the baby no more… Babe. I’ll grab the car seat and some toys. Oh, maybe a binky thingy.” By the time Link loaded himself up they went to the Escalade.

As Link went through the living room he noticed Levi and Brody curled up on the lounge. Panic rushed through his body.

“Levi, what the fuck are you doing? Why aren’t you guys in the car?” he looked around, “Where are your bags? What the hell, Levi? I need you there.”

“What?” Levi uncurled from Brody.

“Hurry up, pop is already backing down the driveway. Come on!” Lincoln headed outside, stepping through the doorway he noticed Sage struggling to get all the bags put into the back of the Escalade and hurried to help him. “Move your ass, guys.” Link yelled back into the house.

Three minutes later they were on the road, Link was on the phone to Bella, Kyle talking to Jared asking for him to babysit the younger kids. Blu happened to be singing a diddy about a dead cat while Brody and Levi were already falling back to sleep against each other.

Once the plane was in the air Blu noticed Sage trying to keep his shit together. Link had fallen asleep but the panicked look on the boy's face worried him. He sat across from Sage in the vacant chair.

“You alright, kid? First time flying?”

Sage nodded, “Unless you count jumping out of a tree at six-years-old.”

“This might be a little different,” Blu winked with a smile. He set his Kindle down on the coffee table in front of Sage. “Here, there are hundreds of books on the device. It should help take your mind off it, flag me if you get nausea. I got you covered the others don’t need to know. They’ll never let you live it down.”


Link dragged Sage down the hallway of the hospital toward the nursery. Bella wasn’t allowed to do more than see the baby through the window as she wasn’t the child’s parent or legal guardian, per hospital policy. She stood smiling with her face plastered to the window as they all arrived. As they approached she swung her head in their direction grinning as a first-time aunt should.

“Congrats, Link, he’s so adorable.” She enveloped her brother squeezing him tightly. “I’ve missed you.”

“Missed you too Bell,” Lincoln looked into the nursery spotting a bassinette with only the name ‘Waters.’ “Oh, my god, Sage, lookie,” Link pointed at the little boy with a thin blonde tuft of hair on his head.

“Get in there bro,” Bella pulled her brother toward the door to the nursery.

On the Nursery Door a sign hung, “Please provide proper Identification to the Charge Nurse to obtain an Electronic Bracelet.”

Link continued dragging Sage by the hand to find the head nurse. Spotting a pushy looking woman talking to a man wearing a crisply pressed suit, he figured the man had to be a part of his legal team. “Excuse me,” Link said excitedly.

“May I help you?” the woman asked.

Lincoln pulled his identification out while Sage fished for his, “We’re here to see our baby,” he stated as he offered her his photo id.

The woman took the id photocopying it for the hospital records before handing it back. She held out a bracelet to attach it to Lincoln’s wrist, “I’m sorry but I can only give you access into the nursery, and only you may remove him from there and take him to one of the sitting rooms.”

Sage squeezed Lincoln’s hand, “It’s fine we can at least sit together right? I mean in the sitting room.”

“Oh, yes, that’s fine.” The lady stated professionally.

The lawyer looking guy stepped forward, offering his hand. “Mister Waters I believe I’ve spoken with both of you and your dads.” Link and Sage both nodded in agreement. “I’ve gotten all of the required signatures from Melissa and her father. They both requested you have no contact with either of them, and she has been moved to a private room which is part of the medical agreement.”

“Um, okay.” Link tightened his hold on Sage’s hand. “Can you tell us if she’s okay?”

The Attorney nodded his head, “Melissa was doing fine after delivery, she only required a nerve block in the delivery suite.”

“Oh, good, that’s good.” Link’s eyes fell to the floor for a moment. “Sir, can you please pass on a message for us?”

“I can see if she would like to receive it, however, that’s the best I can offer,” the man stated as he flipped open his folder.

“Um, please tell her, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and he’ll be raised with all the love in the world and he’ll always know she loved him,” Link told the man. He didn’t want his kid ever thinking his own mother didn’t want him. No point trying to hide from the situation as it would come out in the end and he didn’t ever want his kid thinking he’d betrayed or lied to him. He knew that as a mother she would in some way love her own child even if she wasn’t part of his life.

“Okay then.” The Attorney handed Lincoln a large manilla envelope, “You’ll need to retain these for your records. The doctor and nurses are already aware of your situation.” He assessed Lincoln for a short moment then without a smile said, “You’re a nice young man, I wish you all the best with your new son. You gentleman have a nice day and congratulations.” He shook Link’s hand then Sage’s before turning back to the nurse to finish up the paperwork with the hospital for Melissa.

A different nurse somewhat older, almost his pappy’s age came around the counter. “Boys if you’ll follow me, we’ll set this young man up in the sitting room before I take you,” she indicated to Link, “to meet your son before joining this young man.” The woman walked at a clip, Link and Sage barely able to keep up, it felt like they were running. Sage smirked at Link as the nurse stopped at a closed-door and the two boys nearly barrelled over her at the sudden halt.

Sage was shown the private sitting area where he would get to meet their baby for the first time, “Hey this is pretty cool for a hospital room.”

“I’ll be back as soon as I can Babe,” Lincoln gave Sage a chaste peck on the lips.


Sage sat patiently in the private room. As the door swung open Lincoln stepped inside carrying their little bundle of joy bundled in a small blue swaddle, as the nurse rolled in his little bassinette. Lincoln sat on one of the couches in the room, Sage sitting gently beside him. Link lowered the baby from his shoulder resting him in the crook of his arm. Sage reached out touching the baby’s little hand.

“He’s so tiny,” Sage stated with such awe.

Lincoln smiled, “Do you remember the name we both liked?” He asked his boyfriend, even though both of their feelings run much deeper beyond such a title.

Sage touched the infant’s chin, “Noah Ryan Waters?”

Nodding his head, Lincoln couldn’t help when his eyes glistened with unshed tears. “He’s so perfect, aren’t you Noah?” The baby made little spit bubbles, which caused both of the teens to chuckle.


A slight tap on the door caught Lincoln and Sage’s attention they both glanced up to see Levi and Brody silently ask if it was okay for them to come in and meet the new addition. Link smiled at his brothers welcoming them. The two teens all but tip-toed over to greet their new nephew.

“Hey,” Link whispered gently pushing the blanket aside a little so they could get a better look at the baby’s face. “Guys, meet Noah Ryan Waters.”

“I want one,” Brody whispered leaning into Levi wiping away a few happy tears.

“Well umm… we don’t have that equipment so you’re outta luck,” Levi snickered at his comment. “He’s so cute just like me.”

“He is,” Brody stated wistfully.

“Noah,” Levi called his name softly. “Can I uh… like, hold him?”

Sage smiled at both of the teens, “Are your hands clean? There is a small sink in the corner,” he pointed toward it. “Then sit in the rocking chair.”

Levi and Brody both washed their hands, then Levi took a seat in the rocker. “Ok, give me little Noah,” he extended his arms taking the baby from Lincoln, “Hey little guy. You got lots of Uncles who are gonna love you like crazy.” The baby made little snuffling sounds and a pungent odor emanated around the room. Picking the baby up he sniffed the kids bottom, “Oh gross Noah.” The little boy burst into tears.

Sage chuckled taking their son from his uncle, “Let’s change your diaper little dude. Pop-pop will clean you up yes he will,” he said in a childish sounding voice. Placing Noah in his bassinette he unbundled this baby, “Babe, it’s a good thing you brought lots of wipes and diapers.” He said as the more layers came off the baby the more poop was discovered. “Dude, how did you make such a huge mess?” Sage opened up the baby wipes the hospital had in the bed which pulled double duty as a changing station. After five different wipes Sage declared Noah, ‘Clean.’ Once Noah was bundled back up Sage lifted him to his shoulder, “New rule. If Noah toots when you’re holding him, you change him. Ain’t that right baby boy?”

Link laughed at Sage, who was in ‘Poppa Bear’ mode, “So, where are Dad and Pop?

“Um… they dropped us here and took off. They said they won’t be long just getting us set up in our accommodations. Whatever the hell that means. But then again it’s not like they could bring Scarlett into the hospital either.” Levi answered as the door opened and Bella came in.

“Is it okay if I come in?”

Sage motioned her over, “Would you like to hold Noah?”

Their sister grinned nodding her head. “Definitely.” She couldn’t move fast enough to get her hands on the cutest baby on earth.

Smiling Sage started to hand the boy over pausing for a moment, “Noah, you’re Aunt Bella hasn’t read the new rule sheet that has yet to receive the new amendments. Anybody holding Noah is warned, if he toots, you’re responsible for clean up.”

Bella held out her arms wiggling her fingers. “Just give me the baby or be prepared that the only thing you’ll be holding for the rest of today is your bikini parts.”

Sage handed their son to his very threatening aunt, “Babe, you didn’t say she has a history of abuse.”

“Ha! You have no idea. But, she does seem meaner now that she’s in college. I blame it on her education.” Link shrugged a shoulder. “This is what happens when you give a sweet girl like my sister too much freedom and expensive education.” He shook his head.

Levi laughed hardily until Bella gave him the look, a look he knew too well than ended with him curled in a ball crying. He cleared his throat comically, “Sorry sis, just trying to be part of the group.” He tilted his head admiring her. “Did you get a haircut, looks nice.”

“Such a suck-up,” Sage said with a smirk. “Thyme would never fall for that. When I jumped out of the tree in the backyard when I was six, she laughed and started covering me in dirt and she’s my twin.” He let out a slow sigh, “There was no are you okay, or anything. Val came out after hearing me crying and wiped the dirt outta my face and gave me a bandaid.” Sage’s eyes shined with love only a parent would feel, “Noah will get hugs and kisses along with bandaids for booboo’s.”

Link smiled at his other half, “Our baby is already loved more than a lot of kids will ever know.” He stated as he took in the view of everybody in the room.

Levi’s phone played some Monkee’s tune he’d assigned for Blu’s phone. It made him chuckle every time it rang.

“Grampy, where the hell are you?” Levi said answering the phone.

“Hey, ya little shit, where are you. Dad and I have been crawling this damn maze for half-an-hour.”

Sage listened in since Levi had them on speaker-phone, “three doors up from the nursery on the opposite side of the hall toward the nurse’s station,” he spoke up like he had scoured the halls before.

“Oh, okay. Sure,” Blu said sarcastically. “Are we even in the right hospital?” he asked Kyle but everyone could hear him.

“Jesus Christ,” Kyle said coming through the phone obviously taking it from Blu. “Guys, give me a floor and ward number would ya. The reception lady was not helpful.”

Lincoln smirked before answering, “Dad, third floor, east wing. But if ya want to mess with Pop, take the elevator to the basement, it’s spooky.”

Their dad chuckled. “How ‘bout we don’t be mean to pop today, as far as he’s concerned its still his birthday and he’s so excited about the baby. Be nice, okay, and remember you love him. Just give him this will ya. When we get back home feel free to torture him as much as you usually do.”

“Tell Blu I changed Noah’s first poopy diaper,” Sage stated proudly, forgetting that neither grandpas had been told his name.

Lincoln sat forward, “Pop, we didn’t mean to forget to tell you his name honestly. And Sage is just so excited to be the first to change him. He counted his little fingers and toes. Anyway, we decided to name him Noah Ryan Waters. We hope that is okay, it just seemed to fit properly with our name.” He told both their dads, as Sage quietly apologized to Lincoln for being too excited and not thinking in the background.

“Boys, boys, calm down it’s okay. Pop and I will be there in a few minutes… we hope.” They heard him say, “Babe, this way. I think,” before the line went dead.

Sage smiled nervously, “I’m just gonna step out in the hall and watch for your dads. After that faux pas, I need all the brownie points I can earn back.” He gave Link a quick peck before going into the hall.

“So Bella. How’s school?” Link asked changing conversations.

She smiled down at the baby, “It’s fine, I guess. Harder than I thought it would be. Especially now that I have to work at the ‘Foxy Lair’ because I spent all my tuition on cocaine.” She sighed.

“What?” Blu screeched rushing across the room. “Say that again young lady. You’d near have to be kidding me. We didn’t send you all the way across the country to become…” he stopped looking around the room at all sets of eyes on him getting worked up.

“Baby, why do you let them wind you up.” Kyle sighed. “You know she was just razzing her brothers.” He hugged his husband looking at their kids over Blu’s shoulder giving them all the stink eye. He’d asked them for one thing. ‘Be nice to pop, today.’ Bella gave him a sheepish look.

“Sorry dad, I was messing with the boys.” She stood with Noah in her arms. “Hey, pop. Meet your grandson and the sweet boy that shares your birthday.” She kissed his little cheek before gently passing him over to Blu and Kyle as they huddled together eyes completely focused on the blue bundle. “Sorry, pop. I was only kidding,” Bella whispered giving him a peck to the cheek before moving to sit with Sage and get to know him.

“Noah makes this little face when he’s sleepin’ Pop and he blows these little drool bubbles it’s too cute,” Lincoln told Blu, “Oh, and Dad, we’re gonna teach him the guitar when he gets older.”

Sage leaned forward, “Link’s gonna teach him the guitar part, I’m gonna teach him how to write stories.”

“Yeah,” Blu whispered, “sounds perfect.” He wiped his finger gently down the baby’s cheek then smiling affectionately at Link and winking at Sage.

Sage smiled at Blu, “Thanks, Pop. Noah is gonna have the best life we can give him.”

“Oh my god, I wish I’d have recorded that,” Levi stated snarkily, “Jonathan’s gonna be pissed missing Pop be nice to Sage.”

Link smacked his twin on the back of the head. “Shut.Up.Jackass.”

“Watch it dill-hole. Remember Spartan likes to play ball,” Levi joked.

“Well at least if Brody leaves you someone will still want them,” Bella snarked at his brothers. “Pop, I have a class in a couple of hours can you drop me back at school, please? Once you’ve finished cuddling Noah, that is.”

“School? Or will it be easier to drop you straight at the ‘Foxy Lair’?”

“Nah, I’ll uber it from the dorm,” she chuckled.

“Okay, now I’m worried you’re not joking.” Blu looked wide-eyed at Kyle.

“Babe,” Kyle shook his head. “If you believe everything these kids throw at you, you’re in trouble when Noah figures out how to mess with you. Isn’t that right Noah?” The last part cooed to the infant.

Sighing Blu reluctantly gave the baby to Lincoln. “Will you boys be okay for a few hours while we take Bella back to school?”

Lincoln squeezed Sage’s hand, “We got this Pop,” his eyes drifting between Noah and Sage.

“Ya, we do,” Sage stated lovingly while looking at his little family.


“Where are we?” Bella looked through the window confused as they pulled into a strange driveway of townhouse behind a brand new black Volkswagen Golf.

“Just a quick stop before school, we want you to re-meet someone,” Blu smirked. He jumped from the car running to the door with the keys while Kyle followed with an affectionate smile and his arm around their daughter’s shoulder.

“Dad, where are we?” she whispered as they made it to the open door and Kyle moved them through the opening comfortably. Before Bella could even get her bearings a fluffy bundle was thrust into her chest and had no choice but to grab hold of it, then noticed the red bow. “What the..? Oh my god, Scarlett!” she hugged and purred with the cat.

“Yep, that’s yours. You keep it, there are no returns. It’s all yours, registered in your name and everything. Uh-huh. All yours.” Blu grinned all proud of himself and happy as a pig in shit to see the last of Satan’s ninja bride.

Kyle laughed and shook his head, “The house is an investment property for your Pop and I. While you’re in college, you can live here and we will rent the extra rooms to your girlfriends. You’ll pay your portion of the rent as if you were paying to remain in the dorm. We expect you to use common sense with the house, we trust you.”

“Really?” Bella bounced excitedly on her toes snuggling with Scarlett who was giving Blu the evil eye.

“Yes, really.” Kyle chuckled.

“We’ll help you move your stuff from the dorm before we go home. Dad has already spoken with the Dean of admissions and organized for another student to take over your dorm so you aren’t responsible for the dorm fees.” Blu smiled. “But wait, there’s more…” he swept his hand toward the door, “come.”

Kyle laughed while he guided Bella back to the driveway.

“It’s a new car!” Kyle sang as they neared the Volkswagen. He smiled down at a teary Bella. “It’s leased for the next three years. You will only be responsible for the gas. You still have your part-time job at the book store right?”

“Yup, you know plus the ‘Foxy Lair’.” She smirked in Blu’s direction who narrowed his eyes at her while she and her dad laughed at Blu. “I’m kidding, pop.” Bella went to Blu to hug him but he backed away.

“Put Satan’s bride down, then come give me a hug.”

“She’ll run away.” Bella gasped in offense.

“I was hopin’.” Blu chuckled.

Bella quickly ran into the house putting Scarlett on the counter closing the door as she bounced back to her dads happy tears trickled down her face as she cuddled into them both.

“Thank you, thank you so much.” She hugged them tighter.

“You’re welcome sweetheart. If your friend’s parents need to call us for any reason so they can move in just let us know. Call George and he’ll forward the documents for the lease agreement to their parents to sign and agree otherwise,” Kyle told her as his grip tightened with the love for his daughter.

Well you have now met Noah Ryan Waters, the little bundle will be gracing each of us moving forward.

Leave a reaction and/or a note, we love hearing from each of you.

Stay face, we will see you soon.

Aaron Hawke & JT Babbage
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Yes! Demon cat has been banished to another realm!!!!

And omg that name i freaking love it!!! Noah Ryan Waters! Is Ryan an homage to Rain? 

Omg sage going into papa bear mode!!!!! Link better lock that down!

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Great chapter! That is going to be one spoiled kid! Glad to see Blu is warming up to Sage!

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Such a Loving chapter. So full of Love for Noah. Wanna most precious gifts anyone could get on there birthday. Blu will be a wonderful grandpa. Can't wait for the rest of the family to meet Noah, he's gonna be met with lot's of Love.

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Great chapter!  Can't wait to see how the triplets (especially Kassidy) interact  with Noah Ryan Waters!

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