Since Levi had awakened from his coma the Waters household has been filled with tension, leaving everybody walking on eggshells. Brody and Link seemed to take the brunt of cruel comments from Levi when he lashed out from frustration. On Saturday, Lincoln decided to pass on visiting his brother and hang out with Sage at Kaleb and Davis’ house.
“Pop,” Lincoln called out from the bottom of the stairs.
Blu appeared on the ground floor wiping his hands on a tea towel. “What’s up, buddy?”
“Umm… well,” Link swiped his hand through his hair, “Sage and me are gonna go hang with Uncle Kaleb and the trips. I already asked permission from him, he said the nanny is there so us adults can chill.” He smiled after realizing Kaleb had referred to him as an adult.
His pop smiled back at him. “No problem.” He sighed as he went to walk away but had another thought. “Um… Link?”
“Yeah?” Lincoln said as he raised his arm sniffing his pits to make sure he used adequate deodorant.
“No, it’s not that you stink. But seriously kid, shower, we can smell you all the way from the kitchen.”
Lincoln scrunched his nose up staring at his dad, “I did shower!” He said in a huff, “What did you need Grandpa?”
“Watch it brat. But, I was thinking since you are about to become a father you should have your driver’s license. Can you go online and make an appointment to get your permit?” Blu said walking off without waiting for an answer.
“I’ll look into–” Lincoln’s response was cut short with a honk of a car horn in the driveway. He glanced out the window, “Sage is here, have fun keep outta trouble while I’m gone.” Link chuckled at himself as he raced out the door, slamming it behind himself.
“Hey handsome,” Sage said as Link plonked down in the passenger seat.
“Hi, Sage,” Lincoln smiled with a blush rising on his cheeks as he fastened his seatbelt. “I spoke to my Uncle Kaleb, he said we could chill with him.” He wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans, “You’ll like him, he used to be a prankster before the trips were born.”
His new friend chuckled, “Yeah? I bet he doesn’t have time for that anymore.”
“No,” Link shook his head, “he definitely doesn’t. Do you know where Boston Square Condominiums are?”
Nodding his head Sage silently backed out of the driveway heading to Kaleb's building.
“Cool,” Lincoln tapped his fingers on the console, “if Kassidy tries to get you to do something… just don’t. She can be…” he stopped and contemplated his words, “she’s evil, twin two that’s Kole well he’s a glutton for her punishment. Kayden isn’t gullible, and usually steers clear of her nonsense.”
“Sounds like I should have worn a cup,” Sage mumbled as he turned at the traffic light.
Lincoln nodded his head, “you’re safe I’ll protect the family jewels.” He turned various shades of red, “I can’t believe I just said that out loud.”
A loud jovial laugh rang out from the driver’s seat. “You did, and by your tone, I should probably take that warning seriously. But you’re just too adorable.” Sage gave Link a wicked grin.
“Alejandra the kid's nanny is there today,” Link changed the subject hoping that would ease some of the arousal he felt toward Sage, “with any luck Kassidy will be occupied by her.” He said as Sage pulled into the parking lot, finding an open guest parking space. “I really hope you like Uncle Kaleb,” Lincoln said as he opened his door stepping out of the car.
As the elevator door to Kaleb’s condo slid open, Kole ran past naked covered in paint?
“What the f…” Sage whispered quickly moving out of the way so the kid didn’t run into him.
Link made an exasperated look and shrugged his shoulders, just as Kassidy ran past the teens waving a wooden spoon like a scepter, “Koley you’s my royal slave, come back. I punish you!” she screamed out then screeched to a halt looking up at Sage pointing her royal stick at him and rudely demanding in a somewhat outside voice. “Who you?”
“Uh…” Sage looked to Link for the assist, none came. He focused back on the pretty toddler frightened because he was sure the exterior was misleading from the inside. He stepped back against the wall croaking, “Um…”
The young girl stamped her foot, “Who you?” she demanded again.
Sage swallowed audibly. “Link?”
“Sage is my boyfriend,” Lincoln stammered and slapped himself in the forehead, “he’s my friend and he’s a boy.” Taking a large swallow of air, while hoping the floor beneath him would open up and he could be lost in the great void. “I swear my mouth has no filter,” he mumbled, “I have no control over it when I’m near you Sage.” Link chanced a quick glance at Sage to find him smirking at him with a look that he wanted to eat him right here right now. Link fidgeted for a moment before turning back to Kassidy, but before he could say anything else the young girl was advancing on his new friend with total destruction in her eyes.
“WHO,” she advanced on Sage, “YOU?”
Link tried to interfere but she turned her fire eyes to him and he backed off.
“You not loud to take Link,” Kassidy’s hand waved her wooden scepter level with Sage’s waist, Lincoln’s hand flew out to block the incoming swat to Sage’s crotch.
“OUCH! Kassidy,” Lincoln yanked his hand back rubbing it.
Alejandra saw the incident uttering, “Jesús sálvame del engendro del diablo.” –Jesus save me from devil spawn.
Kassidy turned her glaring eyes on the nanny, “I punish you an Koley!”
Alejandra shook her head as she stared down the toddler, “el Diablo.” –the devil.
Kole ran back through the room stopping behind the nanny he hugged the nannies legs with his paint-covered naked body, leaving blotches of wet paint on her clothing.
Sage watched in horror his eyes flitting between all the players in this crime scene. In his peripheral vision a hot blond guy stalking toward them at a panicked pace, eyes wild and desperate.
“Kassidy!” his admonishing as he gasped, “No, Kole!” but he was too late. Sage covered his mouth with his hand warring with himself whether it was acceptable to laugh or cry. His head swivelled toward Link to see his reaction, it wasn’t what he was expecting. His new friend bent over with a hardy bark of a laugh that earned him a glare from his uncle but it just made Link laugh raucously.
“What?” Lincoln said while laughing.
His uncle stamped his foot, “It’s not funny, Lincoln Abraham Waters.”
Sage’s eyes grew quickly as big as saucers mumbling to himself before chuckling, “Lincoln Abraham. Priceless.”
Link ball tapped his friend? Boyfriend? “Hush. And Uncle Kaleb you stomped your foot like the trips do when they throw a tantrum.”
Alejandra’s shook her head at the entire family before glaring at the paint Kole left on her clothes. “Niño de Satanás,” –Satan’s child. The nanny turned a glare of death toward Kaleb, “necesitas ayuda de jesus!” –you need help from jesus. Throwing her hand in the air to stab at the call button of the elevator she yelled, “Ya no trabajo en la guarida de satanás. Lo dejo!” –I no longer work in satan's lair. I quit! As the doors swished open the woman pounced into the elevator fleeing the chaotic world of the satanically possessed children.
“Uncle Kaleb,” Lincoln said between laughter, “I barely passed Spanish but, I think she said you basically gave life to satan, and she quit!” He stated as he burst into fits of laughter again.
Once again exasperated at another nanny quitting Kaleb burst into tears.
“Well, shit,” Lincoln mumbled patting Kaleb’s shoulder with one hand and calling Grandpa Teddy on his phone with the other. His eyes met Sage’s and they were somewhere between amused, disbelief, and what the fuck. His grandpa picked up after the second ring.
“Linc, baby boy, everything okay? Is Levi alright?” his grandpa’s baritone voice laced with concern.
“Oh yeah,” he chuckled, “just reporting a blue nanny code for uncle Kaleb.”
Kaleb stopped crying for a moment then blabbered, “she said I gave birth to satan,” then he sobbed some more.
“Dear god,” Teddy mumbled into the phone, “can you stay with him? I’ll send one of the boys over. And don’t you go blabbing to your Uncle Davis, ya hear me. You let us deal with it. Keep your trap shut. Understand?”
“As long as I can use it for blackmail material for when I need a babysitter,” Lincoln smirked while he rubbed his uncle’s shoulder.
“Oh, for eff’s sake. Just stay with him someone will be there soon.”
“Yes, grandpa. Talk to ya later.” Link ended the call, picked up the cantankerous toddler to put her in a time out like Derek had shown him previously.
“Sage,” he pointed down a hallway, “second door on the right, can you run the bath, please? Not too hot, we better clean these kids up before my grandpa’s get here.” Lincoln knew in his heart it would be James and Teddy that came instead of one of his men since Teddy had heard the sobbing of Uncle Kaleb through the phone.
As Lincoln and Sage walked in the front door of his house, they overheard Brody talking to his parents. “I don’t understand Levi, he keeps trying to talk me into breaking up with him saying he’s broken.”
Link sighed bowing his head, searching for some hidden inner strength he wasn’t sure he any longer possessed.
Sage reached out taking Lincoln’s hand in his, giving it a squeeze. “Remember I promised I would be by your side through good or bad,” he said offering a few words of strength.
That damn blush of his came over his cheeks before Link answered. “Thank you.” He smiled at Sage pulling him toward the kitchen where he heard the voices of his dads and Brody. “Let’s get this over with,” he gave Sage a sheepish half-smile.
Kyle looked up at the pair of boys as they walked in the kitchen, who were still holding hands. His eyes went wide, and he smiled as he walked around the island. “I’m Lincoln’s dad, and you are?” He asked as he offered his hand to shake.
“I’m Sage, Sir,” the teen shook the outstretched hand.
“This is my husband and Lincoln’s Pop,” Kyle stated as he motioned for Blu to greet the kid.
Blu stood strong narrowing his eyes at the thirty year old man who had hold of his son’s hand.
“Stay out of the laundry room,” Blu spat.
Sage looked at the man like he had lost his mind, “I don’t need to do laundry so no problem… Sir.”
“Pop!” Link looked at his dad, “seriously? I never. Ever. Done that. I.AM.NOT.UNCLE.KALEB!”
Kyle looked at Blu with a perplexed look, “Uh… Babe?”
“What?” Blu asked crankily.
“Wow,” Kyle looked at Sage and then back to his husband, “you could be a little friendlier to Lincoln’s umm… friend?”
Link glanced at both men who he respected dearly, “Kinda boyfriend,” he smiled quickly at Sage then glaring at Blu who he hoped would quit icing out any relationship that is kindling between Sage and himself.
“What?” Blu snapped. “He’s like our age Link. What the hell?”
Sage’s eyes grew wide, “Sir, I’m seventeen.” He stammered. “I can prove it,” He reached into his pocket pulling out his wallet flipping it open and offering it to Blu.
The older man snatched the wallet taking the ID from it’s pouch, he sniffed it, flicked it, tried to rub the printing and photo off, he still wasn’t done but his husband snatched it out of his hands, smacked him on the back of the head and told him, “Fuckin’ behave, would ya.” He gave the kid back his wallet and ID but not before having a discreet quick inspection on the date of birth.
“Pop, you’re so embarrassing.” Lincoln waited for Sage to secure his wallet before lacing his fingers with Sage’s, “You knew I liked Sage the day we met at parenting classes. Why are you freakin’ out now?”
“Just ignore him Lincoln,” Kyle sighed, “you know he gets his manties in a wad when you kids date.”
“Manties,” Blu mumbled, “fucking manties. Stop laughing Brody or I’m not taking you to pick up your mom.” He stomped toward the front door. “Are you coming or what, kid?” They all heard the door to the garage slam.
Kyle was chuckling. “You’d better go now Brody, you know he won’t wait for you when his manties are flossing his crack.”
Sage snickered and caught himself, “Sorry, dude, I mean Sir.”
Lincoln's father waved Sage off, “It’s fine. This is nothing. When he caught Brody and Levi in the laundry he took of their bedroom door and the laundry door. I had to stop him from taking off the bathroom door.” He shook his head with an affectionate smile. “He loves his kids.”
“I promise to be respectful in your home,” Sage made eye contact with Kyle, “I really want to see where this thing between Lincoln and me goes. You know?”
“Treat him right and you’re okay with me.” Kyle smiled. “Take your time though, there’s no hurry. Plus you still need to win over the grumpy grandpa yet.”
Link smirked at both his dad and boyfriend, “Grampy will get over it, or we will get the trips and leave them here so Uncle Kaleb gets a sanity break.”
Pointing at his son, Kyle admonished shaking his head vigorously. “No, absolutely not. You know how your pop is. He will teach those kids the most unimaginable things just to torture their fathers.”
Sage laughed, “I’m not sure those kids can be much more,” he clicked his fingers, “incorrigible. I think that’s the word, boy they could be a secret weapon for the military. Instead of chemical warfare, it would be child warfare,” he cringed at thought after seeing the way they reduced their father to tears.
“Dad, since pop isn’t here right now we’re going down to my room. Don’t worry I’ll leave the door open.” Lincoln rolled his eyes for effect but it was more about him not ready to be totally alone yet with Sage. If the door was open they couldn’t do too much, could they?
“Go,” Kyle waved his hand dismissively as he chuckled.
Maria hurried through the airport gateway rushing in the direction that she had agreed to meet Blu and her son. Once she spotted the pair she clutched her carry on tightly as she hustled toward them. “Brody, my baby. You’ve grown so much,” she peppered his cheek with motherly kisses before pulling him tightly into a bone-crunching hug.
“Mom, you’re smotherin’ me,” Brody said in a muffled voice, “I can’t breathe.”
“Oh, quit being dramatic,” Maria stated as she released him from her clutches and turned to Blu, “oh, get over here and give me a hug, it’s been ages Blu.”
He groaned under the immense python like hold she had on him. “Geez, woman. Have you been working out?” Blu laughed.
Maria laughed, “You should come lift my mother in and out of her bed and wheelchair,” she tsk’d, “I never thought I would ever be doing such things.”
He shrugged taking her carry on from her wrapping his arm around her shoulders as they walked to the exit. “We do what we have to do. Simple as that,” he told her kissing the side of her head.
“Brody, how’s that boy of yours been?” Maria looked at him, “Does Momma need to give him a kick in the backside to get his head outta his behind?”
“Mom, just stop. Please,” Brody implored the woman, “I think I’m handling it okay with Kyle and Blu’s help.”
“Hmm,” she hummed to herself. “Has he been dealing with Levi’s injury okay Blu?” she asked as they walked through the parking lot.
“Brody’s just fine. It’s Levi we’re worried about. He keeps pushing everyone away, he’s angry, confused, but we’re persevering.” Blu sighed. “We have to be patient. I honestly don’t know where Brody gets his patience from because he refuses to give up.”
Once the group arrived at the Waters's residence, Maria asked to speak with Brody, Kyle, and Blu. Maria sat in one of the armchairs tapping her fingers on it. “I’m not quite sure how to say the things I need to say.” She glanced worriedly at her son, “each of you knows my mother had a stroke a few months ago. She is now reliant on somebody providing her with assistance and care.”
“Grandma is okay though right?” Brody asked his mother lovingly.
“She’s learning to cope with the way things are going to be,” Maria offered a brief smile. “Blu, Kyle, I have to move to my mom’s permanently. She requires care that I feel obligated to provide for my mother.”
“I’m not leaving Levi,” Brody stated as he worked himself up over the thought of losing the person he loves.
“Hey,” Blu said soothingly as he reached for the boy, “breathe, sunshine. Let’s hear what your mom out before you start making any assumptions about anything.” He tucked the kid down onto the couch next to him.
“Thanks, Blu.” Maria shifted in the chair, “As I was saying, I feel obligated to care for my mother being I am her only child. I don’t want to force Brody to move with me,” she offered a warm smile to her son. “However, it’s asking a lot of both of you, Blu, and Kyle to assume guardianship of Brody while you have to deal with everything Levi is going through.”
“I think I can say that Brody is a part of our family,” Kyle placed his hand on Blu’s leg. “We’ve all been a shoulder to lean on when one of us has needed it. Lincoln and Brody have become each other's rock when they are in a rut over Levi.” Brody nodded his head.
“I’m glad to hear that,” Maria said softly. “I know my baby is loved here, and he’s told me many times on the phone you guys are both more like a father to him than Carson ever was.” Maria glanced at three of the most important men in her life, “I guess, no I know it is safe to ask. Will you guys agree to become Brody’s guardian?”
“Yes,” Blu answered almost before Maria finished talking.
“Thanks,” Brody almost shouted, “I love you and grandma, mom, but I don’t wanna live there.” Then he turned focusing on Blu and Kyle, “becoming a part of this family was the best thing to ever happen to me. I love each of you, and I don’t know how I would ever live without any of you. Even if Levi doesn’t believe it at the moment, he is the person I want to spend the rest of my life.”
Kyle’s eyes filled with tears hearing how much the young man sitting with them said from his heart. “Brody, you’ll always have a home here with us. We love you too.”
Lincoln and Sage sat at the computer in Link’s bedroom, watching youtube videos.
“How much hassle is it to get your learner’s permit?” Link asked. “Pop said since I’m going to be a father I need to get a license.”
Sage nodded in agreement. “You really should. If there’s an emergency with the peanut or they get sick they only have you to rely on. If there is no one here to help you, you need to be able to drive. Also, babies have doctors appointments, you have school and stuff. Can you imagine doing all that having to use public transport, it’d be a nightmare.”
Link googled the requirements for his learner’s permit. He went to the state website and scheduled a time to take his permit exam. He also downloaded the pdf version of the driver’s handbook. “Oh god, I just thought of something.” Lincoln got a horrified look on his face, “I might have to ride with Pop, as my instructor for parent driving time that’s required. And he drives like a grandpa.”
Snickering, Sage turned to Link smiling, “Unfortunately, I can’t teach you how to drive. Just don’t rag on your Pops, I kinda need him to like me, Lincoln Abraham.”
“Keep it up and I will borrow Kassidy’s scepter,” Lincoln chuckled shaking his head, “you’re kinda lucky I like your cute hippy butt.”
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