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    Dahawk
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Life's Struggles - 17. Empty Nest

Kyle and Blu had rushed around after returning from the family’s California vacation, only to find they had to rush a majority of their kids off to sports camp for the next four weeks. Levi had decided since his accident had taken his ability to play professional baseball away from him, he would learn the coaching aspects of the game at camp. Brody was going to enjoy the time he had left of high school baseball in the upcoming school year, and Cody was continuing to push forward in his pursuit to become even better at his cherished sport. Jonathan was following in his brother’s footsteps and trying to continue to learn the intricacies of the sport. After the pair returned home, the house was unusually quiet with having only Sage, Link, and Noah home with them. Blu actually found himself feeling a bit blue from suffering empty nest syndrome.

Blu wandered through the house swinging his arms, picking stuff up, and putting them in their place even if it was to slide it an inch over. He wandered into the kitchen looking around at the spotless room, then over to the refrigerator opening the door and peering at the shelves. He hovered there for a few minutes, decided the date was close on the milk and sniffed it then set it back on the shelf. Kyle walked into the kitchen a few minutes later to find the man on his knees in front of the appliance surrounded by the contents of the entire refrigerator.

“Er... What are you doing, babe?” He asked with his head tilted in confusion.

“Huh,” Blu grunted, turning his head over his shoulder, “Wha?”

“Is there a reason you have Kahn sitting here rigid as a statue drooling like a fiend waiting to feed his addiction?” Kyle asked only for the dog to look over at him and release an almost frustrated huff.

“Uh… I’m bored as fuck. The kids up and left us, Sage and Link won’t let me play with Noah because he’s ‘sleeping’ supposedly. I already gave Kahn his bath, I’ve cleaned the upstairs bathroom. I even tried to play your stupid violin but that just made Kahn howl, and I couldn’t find you to do, well you know. So, now I’m cleaning out the refrigerator,” he said in a huff, turning back to the food and throwing a gnarly looking plastic takeout container into the trash can for three points.

Kyle snickered at the entire situation, while their dog’s puddle of drool on the floor continued to grow along with the thud of his tail smacking the floor.

*****

Returning from a meeting at the school, Kyle sought out his loving husband and eventual son-in-law, “Blu, Sage, can I speak to both of you in my office? Please?”

Sage was the first to appear with his smile to quickly disappear when he spotted Kyles briefcase which was stuffed into one of those clear flimsy trash bags that he had only ever seen used in school. “I suppose you want me to sit down?” Sage asked as he looked at the chair facing the man’s desk.

“You think?” Kyle looked at the young man before him as if he were speaking to one of his students, “I’ve had enough of the shenanigan’s, I can’t even use my briefcase thanks to you and my husband. Speaking of where is he hiding?”

Sage sunk down in the chair feeling like a scolded child in the principal’s office, “I think he is scrubbing the grout on the firepit.”

Just as Sage finished talking Blu sauntered into the office. “Hey Blondie, you call–“ his eye caught the inside of the briefcase. “Oh, shit!” he spun on his heel and fled the office like he was being chased by a wild animal. “Back later,” he called out.

“Freeze love of mine!” Kyle shouted.

“Can’t stop now, gotta get to the hardware store. Love ya, bye.” Blu swiped his keys from the hook and flew through the front door. The last thing Kyle and Sage heard was the door slam shut.

“Coward,” muttered Sage, crossing his arms in a huff.

“Uh-huh,” Kyle muttered in agreement more to himself than anybody. “I’m sure we won’t need to have this discussion between you and me again, shall we?” His gaze dropping to his trashed briefcase which was riddled with remnants of a soiled diaper.

“I’ll make sure me and Blu replace it. But just so you know it’s all his fault, he put one in my gym bag. You wouldn’t believe the dirty looks I got when I pulled shit covered clothes out in the locker room at the Y,” He shrugged his shoulders. “I really thought that was Pop’s briefcase, you were a casualty of war.”

Kyle let out a sigh, “I appreciate you manning up, I needed to replace my briefcase but I’ve held onto it for sentimental reasons.” He remembered the day Nan had given it to him, after announcing the plans for renovating and turning the school into a better institution with his husband and brothers help.

“I’m really sorry, Dad.” Sage scrubbed his hands over his face feeling like an asshole. “Will you at least let me try to clean it for you?”

“Thanks,” Kyle looked at the baggage cringing, “but no thanks. It’s just gross to even think about carrying my paperwork and sometimes a sandwich in it.” Kyle then thought to himself in wicked ways that his husband was going to pay for his part in the defecation of his trustworthy work companion.

*****

Blu had just finished mixing the concrete to use for the new rockery he was putting against the yard side of the pool fencing, when he looked up and surprised to see his daughter walking toward him with a cold soda in each hand. He stood up straight groaning as his back straightened, but his face lit up at the sight of Bella.

“Hello, sweetheart, what are you doing here?” he asked, holding his dirty arms out for a hug.

Bella laughed. “Yeah, but no Pop. I’ll hug you for an hour straight, after you’ve cleaned up. But here,” she held out an orange soft drink. “Dad said you’ve been out here for hours and could probably use a drink.”

Snickering, Blu took the can from Bella. “So, what kind of mood was he in when you arrived?”

“Fine,” she shrugged her shoulder.

“Cool,” he answered popping the top of his drink then downing almost three-quarters of it. He smacked his lips together with an, “Ahh, fuck that’s the shit.” He grinned at Bella. “I wish I’d known you were coming I can’t leave this, you go inside in the air condition and I’ll be in soon. Then we can catch up.” He bent forward giving his daughter a peck on the cheek.

“Okay,” she said giggling, “Tracy’s here, do you want me to send him out to help you?”

“Um…” Blu looked around at the amount of work left to do, “yeah, sure. If he is willing and doesn’t mind, the help would be great, and then we can spend more time together.” He smiled. “Call your Uncle Kaleb to see if you can get us a reservation for tonight, there’ll be six of us and a high chair. More if you want to invite the rest of the family. Up to you.” He gave his daughter a wink and went back to his task.

*****

Tracy polished off his third piece of cheesecake setting down his fork, “I don’t think I eat anymore. I stuffed like a bird?” He pat-rubbed his stomach.

Sage snorted iced-tea from his nose, “You mean you feel stuffed like a turkey?”

Groaning Tracy looked at him, “Yes. I said stuffed like a bird, yeah.”

Link laughed, “Last time I ate that much of Uncle Kaleb’s cheesecake I had to hide from the rest of the family. They were all mad they didn’t get normal-sized pieces.” He could still remember hiding inside the laundry room when it had the lock on the door, eating straight from the pie tins his uncle had sent the sweet delicacy over in.

Kaleb smacked his nephew in the back of the head as he walked by overhearing the comment, “Yeah, you were a little asswipe back then.” He snickered recalling his brother-in-laws pissed off phone call that day ranting how unfair it was having only a small sliver of the cheesecake he had begged for.

“Still is,” Blu muttered as he reached for Noah, only to get smacked by Link for the third time.

“Back off, Pop.”

“Stupid kids,” he grunted, giving Kyle puppy dog eyes. “Did you see what your son just did to me?”

Kyle dropped his cloth napkin on the floor bending over to pick it up to keep from rolling his eyes at the theatrics that had become the spectacle of his husband and son’s interactions. “So Bella,” he stated as he straightened back up, “how are you and Tracy enjoying summer break?”

Bella and Tracy eyed each other knowingly before answering.

“It’s fine,” Tracy glanced quickly at Bella waiting for her okay, when she nodded he continued, “we are here for a week, and then Bella and I will be going to introduce her to my parents. We’ll be in Norway for one month. Then we come back here for a week – if you’re okay with it – before returning back to California for school.” He fidgeted anxiously in his seat waiting for the reaction of his girlfriend's parents.

“That’s wonderful isn’t it babe?” Kyle smiled lovingly at his husband.

“Mm. Sure.” Blu grunted.

Kyle shot his husband a look, then focused on their daughter and Tracy. “Your father meant he hopes you enjoy your visit. He will miss all of you kids, won’t you babe?”

“Yes, of course, that’s what I meant,” Blu huffed. He glared pointedly at Tracy. “You better be bringing her back.”

“I bring her back to you Blu. Momma will love her as much as you,” Tracy patted her hand that rested on the table between them before lacing their fingers together.

“Good,” Blu grunted, “I don’t understand why all you kids need to leave. We only got you like five minutes ago.”

“Babe,” Kyle reached over placing his arm around his husband the best he could from his seat. “Kids grow up, we are really lucky to be a part of that process. I mean look at our first grandson,” Noah took the moment by the horns and threw a bite of his cheesecake at some old woman who wore a scowl on her face since the moment she sat at the table beside them. “Well, maybe that wasn’t such a good example,” Kyle chuckled.

Almost rolling on the floor with laughter, Blu tried to speak, “I don’t know, I think it was kinda perfect. Ba hahahahaha.”

“Oh, God help me,” Lincoln looked at his son who was now blowing raspberries at the woman as she wiped his dessert off of her cheek and at his Pop who was laughing hysterically. “I’m so sorry. He has never done that before,” Link apologized to the woman who glared pointedly at the family.

Sage leaned into Lincoln’s shoulder, “At least he never done that in a restaurant before.” He said in a hushed tone.

Kaleb walked over along with his hostess to assist the patron, “I apologize for my Great-Nephew’s actions. This wonderful young lady will help get you situated at another table and I will personally comp your check. I hope that will help make up for this unfortunate event.” After assuring the lady was satisfied with the outcome, Kaleb walked over picking up Noah who was still blowing raspberries at the woman, “Let’s take you back to my office where you can’t bother our other customers.” As he bounced the baby on his shoulder he whispered to Noah, “She doesn’t have a sense of humor does she,” he shook his head to the baby as they turned to walk off.

“Hey,” Blu groused as he shot out of his seat, “how come the shithead gets to have the kid.” He stomped off after his brother-in-law without a thought for anyone else at the table.

Tracy chuckled leaning over to kiss Bella quickly. “You papa, he loves fiercely.”

Lincoln chuckled overhearing Tracy, “No shit! That little tantrum of Noah’s is because he is being spoiled by Pop. Have ever seen a six-month-old have their cereal mixed with ice cream for breakfast?” Link shot a look at his Dad, “Well I have, it’s not a pretty sight it is almost like giving him pure sugar.”

Kyle waved his hand, “Don’t be dramatic.” He smiled. “And, it was frozen yogurt, not ice cream.”

*****

“Pop, we won’t be moving yet. Why are you making up all those boxes now?” Sage pointed to a growing cardboard fort in the corner of the living room.

“You’re going to need them, you know for when you leave us too.” Blu not as discreetly as he thought wiped his eyes.

Sage patted Blu’s shoulder trying to soothe the man’s feelings, “We’re only moving into the apartment above the garage, which is what maybe fifty-feet from where we are standing?” He glanced toward the newly installed door.

“Still,” Blu said as he continued to make up the next box. “Leaving is leaving. Bella went all the way to California. You and Link are moving out, and the rest of our boys went to bumfuck nowheresville to sweaty jock camp. What’s next? Kyle and Kahn run away to join a motorcycle gang.” Blu accidentally ripped the box in his hands with the force he now exuded the further he got into his rant.

“Oookay,” he petted Blu’s shoulder again. “You just stay here and try to relax, I’m going to get the men with the butterfly nets and your husband. Okey-Dokie. I’ll be right back.” Sage turned from Blu moving quickly and yelling loudly. “Dad, Pop’s cheese slid off its cracker and we need something stronger than an afternoon snack down here.”

Kyle rushed out of his office glancing around to see what the commotion was all about. “What’s going on?”

“Uh…” Sage scratched his head. “Well, you see. Hmm. Maybe it’s just better if you go check on your man there, he’s becoming a little,” he tilted his head side to side, “unhinged?” he said carefully.

Kyle turned glancing around the corner of the entry into the living room, “Who’s all the boxes for?”

Blu waved a hand in the air while the other grabbed another box. “Your sons,” he grumbled, “they’re leaving us, remember? Just like all the others.”

“Babe,” Kyle said as he walked in easing his arm gently around Blu, “why don’t we take a seat? You need to destress a bit, maybe we could have Sage make you a warm cup of cocoa?” He suggested.

Narrowing his eyes at Kyle while he was gently guided to the couch. “I’m not a child, you know. I’m just having an itsy bitsy meltdown is all.” He fell onto the couch with the force that Kyle pushed him. “Take it easy, will ya. I’m fragile right now. My baby is all the way over there in that stupid Norway place falling in love and shit.” He sighed. “Then she’s going to move over there away from us.”

Kyle sighed, “We should be really happy for Bella to have found such a loving guy like Tracy. You know his world revolves around our sweet little girl.” He said as he sat next to his husband, pulling him into his side. “All we can ever hope for each of our kids is to find the love of their lives, babe.”

“Screw the love, did you see that fucker in the pool the other day. Damn, those pecs and abs. He must workout twenty-four seven. That alone would be enough for me.” Blu smirked at the jealous look on Kyle’s face.

“You sound like a creepy old perve, you know that.” Kyle hit his husband on the back of the head and stood to leave his ass there. “Stop making up boxes, they won’t need them yet.” Blu’s phone rang from his pocket. “You answer that,” Kyle said, “I’m going to check with the doctor and see if we can get you some happy pills. The next thing you know we will have you painting Bob Ross’s happy little trees with happy little streams winding through them all the while happy little clouds float by and have Kahn happily frolicking through them.”

Blu pulled his phone out of his pocket somewhat calmer than he was a few minutes ago. He frowned at the ID of the camp the boys went to. “Shit, what have they done.” He said aloud before answering the call. “Hello, Blu Waters.”

“Mr. Waters, this is Brock from SPS Sports Camp. Unfortunately, I’m calling in regards to Jonathan Waters. He was stung by a bee during activities and we were unaware that he was allergic. You really should have noted that on his medical history, sir.”

Blu stood grabbing Kyle’s arm. “What? Where is he? Is he alright?”

“He is being airlifted from the camp due to the length of travel to the closest hospital. They are transporting him to Children’s Hospital in Boston.” The stranger informed Blu. “They were performing rescue breathing for your son when he left here.”

“Are you fucking kidding me. We didn’t know he was allergic. Aren’t you supposed to have medical personnel there at the damn camp? Wouldn’t they have an EpiPen or something?” Blu yelled before hanging up. “Blondie we gotta get to the Children’s Hospital. Mother fuckers. Let’s go.” He moved as quickly as his legs could take him swiping the car keys on the way out. Kyle caught up with him taking the keys still not knowing what the hell was going on but knew it was bad.

As the pair made the trip to the hospital Blu caught up Kyle on what had transpired so far as they had known. Also, the other boys had been sending text messages relaying what they had known from camp. Blu had sent a message to Jared and Mason so they could inform Lincoln and Sage, what had happened without working them up. The drive seemed like it might take forever to get there, even though it only took about forty-five minutes due to traffic in the city.

As soon as the vehicle was parked, Blu shot out of the door like a bullet, headed for the emergency entrance.

After eleventy-seven attempts with the nurse on reception at the entrance, they were finally escorted to Jonathan by security. Blu may or may not have threatened the nurse with life-ending injuries. But, once she’d called security Kyle had managed to settle Blu down and smooth things over with the big man with a gun on his hip. It also may or may not have required a call to Teddy for some family assistance.

There stood a doctor injecting something into an IV in Jonathan’s elbow. “You’re breathing much better now young man,” the doctor stated after finishing administering the medication. “You gave everybody quite a scare, after not getting the reaction the camp nurse expected from their Epi-pen. You even got to fly in a helicopter to get here. Can you believe that?” The big burly Paul Bunyan looking doctor patted the boy’s shoulder, “I however wouldn’t pick no more fights with those bees your body doesn’t like them.” Turning the man looked in Blu and Kyle’s direction, “I’m Doctor Dover, you must be this young man’s dads.” He poked his thumb at Jonathan.

Kyle nodded in the affirmative, “Yes we are, I promise you no matter what the rent-a-cop says Blu isn’t a violent person.”

“I understand. But, just be aware we have a no-tolerance policy and that includes verbal abuse.” The no non-sense man told Kyle while glaring at Blu.

“We just gave him some additional medication to help ease some of the breathing issues Jonathan was having. We’ll keep him for observation overnight,” the doctor looked at the men. “He should be fine in a few hours but it is our policy for somebody that has such a severe reaction to be watched closely for the first twenty-four hours.”

“Okay, doc, thanks,” Blu mumbled, he leaned over kissing Jonathan on the forehead. “How’re you feeling little man?”

“Throat’s sore,” Jonathan mumbled hoarsely.

*****

The following week the house was back to normal with all the commotion that came along with having a house full of boys. The doorbell rang and Jonathan ran to answer it, he swung the door open to find an older gentleman dressed in an expensive suit and groomed all fancy for someone who would come to their house.

“Um, I’ll get my dads. Wait here.” He slammed the door shut and called out for Kyle. “Dad! Someone fancy at the door for you.”

“What, buddy?” Kyle smiled walking from the living room toward his youngest son. “Who’s at the door?”

Jonathan shrugged. “Dunno, didn’t ask. Can I go in the pool?”

“After lunch, little man, go help Pop with lunch,” he said ruffling the young boy’s hair before continuing on to the front door. He pulled the door open again to find the man now with his back to the door. “Can I help you?” Kyle asked.

He turned around with a stoic expression. “Yes, I’d like to talk with Mr. Blu Waters, if I may?”

“Uh, of course, and you’d be?”

“Beg my pardon, I’m Professor Benjamin Hawthorpe from Boston University. Dean of the English Department, I’d like to enquire with Mr. Waters with some business on behalf of the University.”

“Kyle Waters, Blu’s husband. Nice to meet you, won’t you come in?” Kyle mentally rolled his eyes at the pompous ass.

“Certainly, thank you for your hospitality, Mr. Waters.”

“You can wait in the great room, while I fetch Mr. Waters for your audience.” Kyle held back a chuckle and turned away from the man as he settled in the room. As soon as he was within a foot from the room he screeched through the house. “Babe! You have a gentleman caller in the parlor.”

A few moments later the stairs thundered with his husband's footsteps. “What the hell are you yelling about Blondie?”

He raised an eyebrow at Blu. “You’ll see.” He took Blu’s hand and pulled him to the living room. “May I present Mr. Blu Waters. Mr. Waters, this is Mr.–”

“Professor,” said pompous Benji.

“My apologies, this is Professor Benjamin Hawthorpe from Boston University. The Dean of English if you would like to know. I’ll have Kahn fetch some tea.” Kyle almost bowed before leaving the room as he shook his head on the way to the kitchen.

*****

Blu and Kyle were sitting at the dinner table with all the kids.

“Okay, kids. The gentleman that was here this afternoon was the Dean of English over at Boston U. They’ve offered for me to teach a course over the coming weeks throughout the summer break. Do any of you have any objections to me working for the rest of the Summer?” Blu asked.

Cody looked at his Pop with a smirk on his face, “Does this mean it will give you somebody else to hover over other than all of us? We love you but you’re driving everybody crazy smothering us since Jonathan’s accident.”

“Yes, it will smartass. And just so you know I don’t give a shit, I’m your dad get the fuck over it. I’ll stop when you're dead. And, with a mouth like yours, that won’t be too far off.” Blu pointed his fork at the kid looking around the table. “Anyone else?”

Jonathan chimed in with a “Nope!” And the table remained silent all that was heard was the clattering of silverware on plates.

“Great then I’ll accept the job. Cody,” Blu said with a smirk, “I’m going to enroll you in the course since you’re gonna miss me so much. Okay? Great.” He clapped his hands together to end the discussion. “You kids clean up since your dad cooked; I’m taking him to a movie and for some ice cream. Behave yourselves.”

We hope you enjoyed this chapter, sorry for the lengthly delays in between.

Please leave a reaction and we love to hear your comments.

Remember to stay safe and love one another.

Aaron Hawke & JT Babbage
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Oh what a great surprise. Great chapter. I missed it. 👌

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Used diapers in gym bags and briefcases?Who are the kids and who are the adults?Good chapter.

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Awesome chapter. Great to have more adventures with Blu, Kyle and there family. Maybe Blu taking the job will put some normality back into the household when he's at work.

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I could read a chapter a day about this wonderful family!  Blu is a hoot!  His passion for his kids and for "Blondie" is palpable!  Thanks for gifting us with another chapter!

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One of the best!! Just as good as ever and the laughs keep coming.

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OMG i love the story line with the diapers, brings back memories of my mother and a sister in law... the war between the dragon (mom) and godzilla ( sister in law)  in this one godzilla lost lol lol lol .  Kept my family entertained and my poor brother on valium... hahahahahaha

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lol just read one comment about maybe there will be some normalcy at home with Blu working,, my question is " does the college know what is about to hit them?""

 

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I haven't gotten to the next chapter, (18) yet, but I see from chapter list a title 'Sad News', only 100 words and 'Long Term Hold'. 

I do hope you're both well and it's nothing health wise that's thrown this 'spanner / monkey-wrench into the works. You as a team have been inspiring authors! 

With appreciation.

Tony 

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