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    Fitz
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Moving On - 29. Chapter 29 - Family Bonds

Scott takes Noah to meet Steve's parents. How awkward will it be to introduce his boyfriend to his inlaws?

Hearing Zach's cries in the middle of the night, though muffled by our closed bedroom door, nearly broke my heart. They were far too quiet to be cries for attention; they were cries I knew too well – cries of a broken soul. I quickly threw on a pair of gym shorts and rushed out of the bedroom as quietly as I could, so as not to disturb Noah, who was still snoring softly.

All the doors in the hallway were closed, and I couldn't quite pinpoint where the sobs were coming from. I first tried Zach's bedroom, only to find it empty. The cries had briefly stopped, and I was about to try the office, which had been Zach's room until last night, when I heard his boyish voice coming from Noah's old room. I pressed my ear to the door so I could hear without disturbing him. Something had been bothering him all day, but he wouldn't talk about it. I worried if I interrupted him, he'd just clam up again.

"Please come back, Daddy. I'm doing my bestest to be good, honest! I don't want you to go away!" With that, he began to sob again.

I couldn't take any more. I had no idea what he meant, but he was clearly traumatized by finding Noah's bedroom empty. I opened the door quietly and spied Zach sitting in the middle of the empty bed, his head buried in his hands as he cried. He was too lost in his turmoil to notice me, even when I sat down beside him. He jumped at first when I gently placed my hand on his back. As soon as he realized it was me, he clutched me tightly, sobbing into my chest as I rubbed his back soothingly. After several minutes, he calmed down enough to talk.

"Scott, why did Daddy leave me? I'm trying to be good, I promise!"

"You're the best little boy I know, Zachy, but what are you talking about? Your daddy didn't leave you; he just moved rooms, like you did last night."

"He didn't? But where is he?"

"How about if I prove it to you? You wait right here and I'll bring your daddy to you."

"You will? Ok!" he exclaimed, returning to his usual exuberant self for the first time since I awoke.

I squeezed him tightly and kissed his forehead before returning to the bedroom to rouse Noah from his slumber. At first, I tried to gently nudge him, but it took a vigorous shaking to get any reaction.

He simply rolled onto his back and grunted, "What?"

"It's Zach," I replied softly.

Immediately, his eyes shot open, and he sat straight up in bed.

"Oh my God! What's wrong? Is he ok?"

"He's fine, just upset. I think I figured out what's been bothering him all day. For some reason, he's convinced we're going to go away if he misbehaves. He went into your room for some reason, didn't see you there, and was positive you'd left. I calmed him down, but he wants to see you."

Like a bolt, he jumped out of bed and headed for the door.

"Hold on," I said, stopping him in his tracks.

"What?" he asked exasperatedly. "My baby is hurting, and I need to make him all better."

"I was just going to suggest you might want to cover up," I said with a smile, gesturing toward his crotch.

"Oh, right," he said, quickly throwing on a pair of shorts before trotting to his old bedroom.

When Zach saw him, he excitedly squealed, "Daddy!!" while leaping into his father's arms. Both Zach and his father began crying, arms wrapped around each other in a tight embrace. When both had calmed down, the three of us sat on the bed, Zach between Noah and me, and we got to the root of the issue.

"Zachy, why did you think Scott or I would leave you if you're not good enough?"

Zach squirmed a little uncomfortably before quietly saying, "Sarah said not to talk about it. It's our little secret."

This set me on edge, and a quick glance at Noah confirmed he didn't like where this was going either.

"It's not good to keep secrets from your daddy or me. We need to know when you're upset like this so we can make it all better," I told him. The boy looked at me, still unsure if he could open up.

"Scott's right, Zachy, I promise we won't be upset with you if you tell us what's wrong, and we'll make sure you don't get in trouble with Sarah for telling us," Noah said.

Zach nodded his head and let out a little sob before choking out, "Sarah told me that soon we are going to see a person who will decide if I can stay with you. She said if I was bad, I would be taken away. I don't want to go away!"

Both of us quickly engulfed our son as he broke down crying again. We held him tightly as sobs wracked his tiny body. It took about fifteen minutes before he calmed down enough for us to recommence the conversation.

"Zachy, we do have to meet someone who will decide if you can stay with us in a few days, but I promise you Scott and I are going to do everything we can to keep you from going anywhere. You are a very good boy and there is absolutely nothing you can do to make us not want you around," Noah told him while I continued to rub Zach's back.

"You may not be perfect all the time, like when you didn't stay in the tub earlier, but neither of us is going anywhere, little buddy. You're stuck with us," I added.

"Now it's very late and I know you're tired. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow. Why don't we get you tucked back into bed?"

Zach looked up at his father with a combination of hopefulness and insecurity. "Will you stay with me tonight, Daddy?"

Noah thought for a second before giving me a questioning look. I simply nodded my head.

"Tell you what, buddy, I'll do you one better. How would you like to sleep with both me and Scott?"

"Can I really, Daddy?" Zach asked excitedly.

"Sure, that way you can make sure neither of us goes anywhere tonight."

Noah must have noticed I was looking at him inquisitively, not entirely sure how I'd been volunteered for this impromptu slumber party. He had apologetic eyes as he mouthed 'sorry' to me. Noah scooped his son into his arms and carried him back to our bedroom; I followed close behind. We all climbed into bed, Zach between us, and almost immediately, the young boy was back in dreamland.

"I thought this was exactly what he needed, considering his fears. I hope you don't mind," Noah whispered to me.

"I don't," I whispered back, "but I don't want this to become a regular thing. When Ethan was little, he would make up excuses to sleep with Mom and Dad. It went on for nearly a year before Dad finally put his foot down. I think he really needed the extra comfort tonight, though."

"Yeah, I agree. It would really stifle chances at intimacy if he was in here all the time. I do like this, though."

"I do, too. Good night, babe. I love you," I whispered before leaning over Zach to get one more kiss from my boyfriend.

"I love you, too, Scott. More than you know."

With that, the three of us slept peacefully until we were awaken by my alarm.

– – – * * * – – –

On Saturday morning, the blaring alarm forced my eyes to shoot open. After our late-night conversation with Zach, I definitely hadn't gotten enough sleep. Noah mumbled something incoherent and pulled his pillow over his head, clearly feeling as unrested as me. Zach just kept sleeping contentedly through the alarm, and I found myself jealous of the little boy.

I got out of bed, and walked over to Noah's side. I leaned over, kissed his forehead, and said, "I'm gonna hop in the shower and make a pot of coffee. Stay here with Zach in case he wakes up. It'll give you the chance to sleep a little longer, too."

"Thanks, babe, you're the best," he mumbled, half-awake.

Once I was dressed and had coffee brewing, I nudged Noah until he woke enough to take his turn in the shower, before taking on the task of waking Zach. No matter what I tried, the tyke would not wake up. I eventually gave up and carried the boy back to his bedroom. I stripped him of his pajamas and got him dressed for the day without him stirring in the slightest. I was getting a little worried he'd be a little hellion when he woke up, full of energy, while we were trapped in the car.

I carried him to the living room and laid him on the couch. I had just poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal when Noah walked in, already looking much more awake.

"Where's Zach? We should probably hit the road soon."

"He's on the couch still wiped out from last night. He didn't even wake when I dressed him."

"Poor guy… I can't believe Sarah filled his head with all that crap the other night. No wonder he freaked out whenever one of us got frustrated yesterday."

"We'll just have to show a little extra patience with him today. Maybe Dick can sit him down and explain the custody hearing in terms Zach can understand," I said.

"That's a great idea. I barely have a sense of what to expect myself, so I have no clue how to actually explain it to Zachy."

After we finished eating, I put some cereal in a baggie so Zach could have some food whenever he finally woke up. We loaded up the SUV with all of Steve's things we were taking to his parents before loading our bags.

As Noah secured the still-asleep Zach in his booster seat, I asked, "Hey, would you mind if we stopped by the cemetery before we left town? I haven't been by since the night we started dating, and I just realized how much I have to tell Steve. If it'd bother you, I can always wait until we get back and come over by myself."

"I don't mind if we stop by. I think I'll just stay with Zach in the car, though. I don't want to feel like I'm intruding."

"Thank you so much, babe," I said giving him a quick kiss. "I know he's not directly in my life anymore, but he was my confidant for so long I feel like I'm keeping things from him if I don't keep him up to speed with everything. I hope that doesn't sound too weird."

"Only a little. I'm sure he knows already, but I know how important he was to you, and you want to feel like a part of him is still in your life."

"You know I love you, right?" I asked as we climbed in the car.

"I think you may have mentioned that in passing once or twice," Noah replied with a straight face.

I laughed. "Ass!" I exclaimed in jest, smacking his arm.

"So you go from telling me you love me to abusing me? I see how it is," he retorted, pouting playfully.

I put the car in gear and held his hand as we drove to the cemetery in contented silence. I pulled into a parking spot and gave Noah a kiss before getting out and making my way to Steve's grave.

When I approached his headstone, I rubbed it gently, saying, "Hey, Steve. It's been a crazy couple weeks. I'm sorry I haven't been back since the night I introduced you to Noah, but I have so much to tell you. First off, Noah and I are doing great. I love him more than I thought I'd be able to. Hell, I think I love him as much as I love you.

"We had our first fight, too. I was led to believe he was seeing someone else at the same time as me, but it was all a giant misunderstanding. It turns out he has a four-year-old son, Zach. I met him and immediately fell in love. He's a great little guy; he's sweet and adorable, but he can be a bit of a brat from time to time – he's even more stubborn than me, if you can believe that!

"Zach was living with his mother, even though she was literally a drugged-out whore. Your dad was actually responsible for us getting custody. Zach and Noah now live with me, and I'm legally a father! It's not permanent yet, but barring something unforeseen, it's only a matter of time. I know how much you wanted kids, and you'd be so happy to see his smiling face.

"For some reason, I actually seem to get along better with your dad than when you were around, but I don't know if that's just because there was a child's life at stake. The three of us are going to visit them today. We have the official custody hearing on Monday, and Dick wants to go over it with Noah in person.

"I guess I should get going. They're waiting for me in the –"

"Who ya talkin' to, Scott?" a small voice said from behind me, cutting my farewell off.

I turned around and there stood Zach. Noah was racing up the hill in pursuit.

"Sorry, Scott, Zach woke up and wanted to know what you were doing. I told him you'd be right back, but he was out the door before I knew what was going on. I didn't even know he could unbuckle his restraint!" Noah gasped, slightly out of breath.

"It's ok," I told Noah before turning my attention to Zach, kneeling down in the grass to look him in the eyes. "Remember the other day when I told you the man in my picture was hurt so badly the doctors couldn't fix him?"

Zach simply nodded his head, clearly unsure where this was going.

"Well sometimes when that happens, the person's family takes them to a cemetery, where they're buried under the ground. That way, when I start to miss Steve, I can still visit him. That's what I'm doing right now, visiting Steve."

"So Steve is here, under the ground?" Zach asked, looking down at his feet a little uncomfortably. "Am I standing on him?" he added, worriedly.

"It's hard to explain, but you're not standing on him. Come here," I said, picking him up, since I was worried he was now afraid to move and accidently step on a dead body.

"But if you love him, why don't you keep him at the house? You can visit him all the time. Mommy said once that throwing dirt was bad, so why would you want to do that to him?"

I sighed at the innocent question, not wanting to go into the fact that I didn't want to do that to him. "Have you ever seen a dead animal?"

"Sure, sometimes one of the mices in the house would die when I was living with Mommy." I felt a pang of regret for bringing up his previous living conditions unintentionally, but since he mentioned keeping Steve in the house, I guess it was a good analogy he could relate to.

"Did you ever notice they start to smell bad and get covered in bugs?"

Zach nodded.

"Well the same thing happens to people when they die. Since they're a lot bigger than mice, they smell a lot worse and there are more bugs. If you bury them in the ground, it helps plants grow. That's why this cemetery is so pretty." It was a very crude way to describe the intentions behind burial rituals, and not really the reason why cemeteries are lush, but it was enough to pacify the boy

"Oh, ok. Where's Steve then?"

I walked over to the tombstone. "This is where Steve is. This stone marks where his head is." I bent over it, and read the words to Zach while he traced his fingers over the embossed lettering.

"You miss him a lot, don't you?" He asked when I had finished.

"I do, little buddy. I miss him and think about him every single day, but I now have you and your daddy to help make me feel better when I get sad, just like we make you feel better when you get sad," I explained.

"Oh, ok. What's an accordion angel?"

"Umm… what do you mean?"

"When I was touching the stone, an invisible man whispered in my ear that he's my accordion angel and he'd make sure nothing bad happened to me."

I smiled in spite of myself, and I could hear Noah behind us try to stifle a laugh. "It's 'guardian angel', little buddy. That means he's going to watch over you and protect you."

"Just like you and Daddy already do?"

"Just like that," I confirmed, kissing his cheek. "Ready to go for a car ride?"

"Yeah!" he said excitedly, squirming in my arms. Suddenly the idea of spending the next ninety minutes trapped in a steel box with a hyperactive child seemed like a horrible idea.

As I walked away from Steve's grave, Zach still in my arms, Noah wrapped his arm around my waist. The three of us made our way back to the car. I insisted if Zach was able to get out without our help, he was big enough to get in without it either. Without hesitation, he crawled up into the seat and buckled himself in. After double-checking that he did it correctly, we climbed in and were on our way.

Shortly after we pulled out, Zach had already occupied himself with looking out the window while making a giant mess of his breakfast. At least it was just dry cereal! Noah and I sat in silence for a while, holding hands at first, but it wasn't long before he spoke up.

"Scott, you did fantastic back at the cemetery. I knew the topic of death and burial would come up at some point, considering our circumstances, but I had no idea how to explain it to Zach without freaking him out. Of course, Steve's always full of surprises, himself. I guess now Zach has three daddies," he added with a grin, squeezing my hand.

The drive was only supposed to take ninety minutes. I hadn't planned on stopping, but we ended up having to stop twice for Zach. Up to this point he had been fine in the car, and it's not like he threw a tantrum or anything, but both Noah and I were beginning to get a little frazzled when I spotted a fast food restaurant, complete with playground. I pulled in and got a small snack for us while Noah ushered the boy into the jungle gym to burn off some of his energy.

Noah and I just sat there watching him, attracting a few looks that made me remember we had ventured outside our safe haven, but no one said anything. When we decided to get back on the road, Noah was helping Zach with his shoes when the boy whispered something in his father's ear.

"You'll have to ask Scott that question, buddy," he said looking over at me. Noah's eyes were moist, and he had the sappiest smile on his face, but I had no clue what he'd been asked.

We got back in the car, and I was just about to put it in gear when Zach asked a question that caused me to freeze.

"Scott, can I call you 'Daddy'?"

Tears were threatening in my eyes as I glanced over to Noah. His face looked exactly the same as it had inside. It didn't quite feel right for him to call me that, but I didn't want to hurt either of their feelings.

"You already have a wonderful daddy already, Zachy. Maybe you should call me something else." I told him, and immediately regretted it when I saw the hurt look on his face. "Buddy, with the two of us around all the time, it might get confusing if you called us both 'Daddy'. I'm honored you want to call me that, but maybe you can call me something different. It'll be your special name just for me," I explained, pacifying the boy before he got too upset.

"Hmmmm… Ok, then can I call you 'Papa'?"

"I'd like that very much, little buddy," I said, wiping the tear from my cheek that had managed to get lose from my eye

After regaining my composure, I got us back on the road. It wasn't long before Noah leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Scott, since Zach can't, can I call you 'Daddy'?"

"You do remember I'm only four years older than you, right? That's hardly enough for a daddy fetish. Do I need to worry about you chasing after silver wolves or something?"

"No, but you're an older, much more experienced man. I'm just a young guy inexperienced in the ways of the world, and I need you to take me under your wing and teach me to blossom into a man."

I tried to shoot him an evil look, I really did, but I was laughing far too hard. Instead, I just smacked his arm

"Oh, and on a serious note, there's another reason I'm not entirely comfortable with Zach calling me 'Daddy'. He sometimes comes to me first when he needs something, and I just worry it'll bother you over time if he's calling me 'your' name," I whispered after we calmed down.

"Yeah, I guess you're right, but you are his daddy whether it bothers me or not. You really are a parent to him in every way except genetics. I'd like to think it wouldn't bother me for him to call you that, but I can see how it might hurt a little from time to time."

"Exactly, I'd much rather be his 'Papa', and be the only one of those he has. He already has the greatest dad in the world, and I love him very much."

"Well, I love Zach's Papa, too," Noah said, leaning over to kiss my cheek.

We settled back into peaceful silence. Noah and I continued to hold hands; Zach stared intently out the window, occasionally rambling on about something he'd seen. We placated him, but neither one of us were really paying attention. I was torn between the contentment from being in such close proximity to the man I loved and our son, and my concerns for how this weekend would play out, as well as Monday's hearing. As much as I knew there was nothing that could go wrong, I couldn't help but worry. I couldn't speak for Noah, but I imagine his head was filled with the same thoughts. Neither of us tried to vocalize our concerns much, but they still weighed on both our minds.

As we neared the O'Neil's, I called Richard to give him a head's up. It wasn't long until I pulled into their brick drive. They lived in a large house – a mansion, to be honest. Steve's parents grew up in wealthy families and were something like small-town Georgia aristocracy. I always felt uncomfortable in their house, worried I'd damage the ornate couches by simply using them. I couldn't imagine growing up that way.

They weren't snobs, or anything. Steve said he and Tom had a nanny when they were younger, but that was more because his mother was overwhelmed with twins. Other than that, they used a maid service, but didn't have any staff. Knowing their wealth, that always surprised me a little. While they were down-to-earth people, they were a little distant. Not just towards me, but to everyone, even each other. I knew they loved each other, and their sons, but they didn't do a very good job of showing it. There was little affection shared in the house. Except at the funeral, I'd never even seen Lydia and Richard hug each other. They showed their love in other ways, however. Tom and Steve never lacked for anything growing up, and they were constantly bought the newest, and most expensive, toys and gadgets.

As I drove down the drive, Noah and Zach both gasped as the house came into view. The house had a brick façade, with Doric columns framing the massive front porch that stretched the length of the house. Just like every other time I drove up, I was struck by just how much it looked like a plantation owner's house, despite the fact it was only slightly older than me.

Richard was sitting on the top step of the porch, but stood and walked to the car as we came to a stop. I got out and walked over to him, sticking out my hand.

"Thank you for inviting us, Dick. And also for all the assistance you've given with our current situation. I know it can't be easy for you, but you have no idea how much it means to me. Let me introduce you; this is my boyfriend, Noah Abrams, and his son, Zach Hollin," I said, pointing to each as I said their name. "Zach, what are you still doing in the car?" I added, noticing he hadn't let himself out.

"You didn't get me out, Papa. You always get me out," he said with a grin. I noticed Richard tense a little when Zach called me that, but it made my heart melt.

"Nope, not anymore I don't. You proved earlier today you are more than capable of getting in and out on your own. You keep saying how you're a big boy, so you need to do it yourself. Now come meet Mr. O'Neil," I said firmly. Steve's parents were old-fashioned southerners, and it would have been unseemly for a child to address an adult by their first name.

Noah reached out his hand to Richard. "Good morning, Mr. O'Neil. It's a pleasure to meet you finally."

"Please, call me Richard, but let's drop the pretenses, shall we? You and I both know neither one of us is entirely pleased to meet. You're my dead son's husband's boyfriend, and this is the last place in the world I want to be at this moment. I'm sure it's about the same for you. That said, I know how much you need my help, and I want to give you all I can. No offense, son, but I'm doing this for your boy more than anything else."

"None taken, sir, and you're right, this isn't exactly how I want to spend my weekend either, but I can't tell you how much it means to me, so I'm more than willing to struggle through any awkwardness. I appreciate your candor."

"And you must be Zach. My, what a big boy you are," Richard said, turning his attention to the young boy.

"Hi, sir," Zach said shyly, grasping Noah's shorts, his fingers playing with his lips and slightly muffling his words.

"Trust me, Richard, when the shyness wears off in ten minutes, you won't be able to get him to stop talking, so appreciate the quiet while you get it," Noah told him with a grin.

"Steven was like that when he was Zach's age. Thomas, on the other hand, was always latching on to new people every chance he got."

"Tom was the outgoing one? He's always seemed a little more reserved than Steve, based on the stories I've heard," Noah asked with a hint of surprise.

"Not when they were growing up. Steven always kept himself a little more closed off than Thomas when they were little. Thomas always included him in anything they did, but it wasn't until Steven went off to college that he seemed to come out of his shell. When he did, it was like he was a completely different person. He went from being hidden among the crowd to the natural leader everyone gravitated towards," Richard explained.

"I only know of shy Steve from stories, but I promise you, he existed. By the time we met, he was always the life of a party," I added.

"Why don't I help you with your things? I didn't know what you wanted for sleeping arrangements, but I have three guest rooms prepared for you. I'll let you choose how you want to do this."

"Is this the same Dick who wouldn't let Steve and I share a bedroom for years, even though we were already living together?" I asked teasingly, but pleasantly surprised he wasn't putting his foot down.

"Yeah, well, Noah's not my son, so I don't feel the need to protect him from your predatory ways," Richard responded with a smile.

"One more thing, Scott, Lydia doesn't know you three are coming. Actually, she doesn't know about Noah and Zach at all. I was hoping you could talk to her. I just don't know where to begin. She's hurting so much still, but I can't figure out any way to help."

"I'll talk to her. Actually, maybe you can talk to Zach a little, and explain everything about the custody hearing in terms he can understand. We tried to wait until the last minute, but he's been a little misinformed. Right now, he's convinced if he's bad, Noah and I will leave him, and Monday will decide if we go away or not."

"You haven't told him anything? That seems a bit irresponsible, if you ask me." This was the first time since we'd been here that Richard had taken the cold and chastising tone I remembered, and it immediately put me on edge.

"I didn't, but what good would it do to tell him? He'd be freaking out about something he has no control over. Instead, the three of us were able to have a wonderful week spending time with each other."

Richard sighed. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Although, if you had told him, he wouldn't be as misinformed about what's happening."

I had expected another condescending comment from him, so I had to take a breath and calm down when it didn't come. "I guess we were hoping it wouldn't happen. Plus, I don't think either of us knows enough about what to expect on Monday to be able to explain it him."

"How about we take everything inside? You go talk to Lydia; I'm sure you'll be able to help her. I'll take Noah and Zach into my study, and try to put the boy's mind at ease. You and Lydia can join us in there when you're ready."

"That works for me. Noah?"

Noah nodded his head, indicating that would be fine. I realized since we had arrived, Noah hadn't said a single word other than making introductions. It was the first time I'd seen him in a setting where he appeared awkward and uncomfortable, and I felt a surge of guilt realizing I was putting him through this.

We unloaded the car. I gave Richard a brief run-down on what was in the various boxes we had brought with us, and between the three adults, we carried everything inside before going back out to grab our bags. We had left the stuffed animals at home. While I wasn't sure if Lydia and Richard would remember them, or their significance to Steve and me, I wanted to avoid bringing up as many memories of Steve as I could. I was sure it would be hard enough for them simply with me being in their house. Since Zach had been asleep when we left, I was able to avoid an argument, because I'm sure he would have insisted they come with us.

"Scott, I trust you remember where the bedrooms are. Go ahead and get the three of you situated. Lydia is in the kitchen. Noah, you and Zach may join me in my study whenever you're ready," Richard said, before retreating to his study. Ah, the traditional retreat to the study at the first available moment. Oh how I loved coming to visit here. I just felt all warm and cozy inside.

As we walked up the grand staircase, I automatically walked to the bedroom Steve and I had always shared when we stayed with his parents; his bedroom. I was just about to put my bag down when I realized where I was. Without a word, I spun on my heel and slammed into Noah.

"Ooof! Sorry, I just realized I can't stay in this room. This was Steve's room," I said.

"It's ok, babe," he said quietly, squeezing my arm. "How are you doing?"

I nodded. "So far, so good; I'm sure there'll be some emotional moments at some point, but we never really spent much time here. I never really felt welcomed, and I don't think Steve felt any real connection to the place. When we moved down to Atlanta, we were close enough that we could make day trips. I don’t remember ever spending the night here after that. A better question would be are you doing ok? I never really thought about what coming here would be like for you until I saw how uncomfortable you were outside."

"Don't worry about me. Yeah, it's awkward meeting my boyfriend's husband's parents, but I'm doing this for Zach. As long as this helps us prepare for the hearing, I'm more than willing to deal with feeling out of place. I'd walk through fire for him, and you would, too. Besides, I really think Richard asked us to come here for Lydia more than the hearing. I hope you can help her; I think you're the only person who can help her cope with Steve's death."

"Trust me, unless they've been replaced by aliens, this is going to be an awkward visit for all of us, but you're right. Richard can help us, and we can help them, so maybe a lot of good can come out of the weekend. I love you," I said, wrapping my arms around him and kissing him gently on the cheek.

We put our stuff into one of the guest rooms, and got Zach situated in the room next to ours. Once finished, we returned downstairs.

Noah knocked on the closed door to the study. I assumed Richard invited them in, but I didn't hear anything before Noah opened the door and ushered his son inside, closing it behind him. I walked to the galley door that separated the kitchen from the rest of the house, and quietly pushed my way in.

I'd like to extend a special thanks to reader Mark for the idea that Zach would freak out when Noah moves out of the bedroom he's been in. I made it my own, but the original idea was his.

As always, thanks to my editor, David, and Hubby for their help with this chapter. I couldn't do this without you two!

Please like, review, etc. I see they got ride of the rating system for each chapter, which I appreciate since it didn't offer me any feedback when someone rated critically! It's fine if you don't like something in my story, but I can't address any issues if I'm not made aware of them! (like my usage of 'anyways' for a while...wth was I thinking... *shudders*)

Moving On is © Copyright Fitz, 2011-2013. All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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I wonder what the heck is going through Sarah's mind? I'm worried about her. I hope they can work whatever issues she has out of her system.

 

The upcoming chapters are going to be critical for everyone's future. I hope for all three of the guys' sake that things turn out well.

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Sarah should be shot, what the heck screwed her thinking putting all the on a lttleboys shoulders.

I liked the graveyard scene it was so believable with Steves input of him telling Zach he would be his according angel that was perfect.

Dick is sorta being a sick but I can sorta see the reasoning this weekend is going to be uncomfortable for everyone. But I think the icebreaker will be Zach.......i hope.

Can't wait for the next chapter to see how Stevens mom handles everything.

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On 04/12/2013 09:29 AM, Rebelghost85 said:
I wonder what the heck is going through Sarah's mind? I'm worried about her. I hope they can work whatever issues she has out of her system.

 

The upcoming chapters are going to be critical for everyone's future. I hope for all three of the guys' sake that things turn out well.

Hehehe...All I can say is you'll just have to wait and see ;)
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On 04/12/2013 10:14 AM, Daithi said:
Sarah should be shot, what the heck screwed her thinking putting all the on a lttleboys shoulders.

I liked the graveyard scene it was so believable with Steves input of him telling Zach he would be his according angel that was perfect.

Dick is sorta being a sick but I can sorta see the reasoning this weekend is going to be uncomfortable for everyone. But I think the icebreaker will be Zach.......i hope.

Can't wait for the next chapter to see how Stevens mom handles everything.

Hubby gave me a lot of grief for how I portrayed Steve's parents. They're basically a caricature of my own in-laws. I hate visiting them because they always make me so damn uncomfortable. Richard and Lydia are different enough in several ways that there's just a resemblance, but still...

 

I really wanted to get through when Lydia meets Zach to end the chapter, because it's 'classic Zach', but the next conversation is fairly long.

 

As for Sarah, you'll just have to wait and see what happens ;)

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I came late to the story, read some chapters, then lost track of it again till recently. Very moving, very real. Seems like we may have to learn some things about Sarah's own past before we can understand where she is coming from.

Among my straight friends - often of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds - it is often the grandchildren that bring a family together. Not just because of need but because of the love that children bring out of people. I'm gonna be surprised if Zach doesn't bring a thaw to the In-law's house, apparently something long overdue.

The author has been so good about not making anyone - except Zach's mom - a total villain or a complete hero, just real people with flaws and foibles, along with their strengths. I'ts going to be a LONG weekend before the hearing.

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On 04/12/2013 05:48 PM, KaimukiMan said:
I came late to the story, read some chapters, then lost track of it again till recently. Very moving, very real. Seems like we may have to learn some things about Sarah's own past before we can understand where she is coming from.

Among my straight friends - often of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds - it is often the grandchildren that bring a family together. Not just because of need but because of the love that children bring out of people. I'm gonna be surprised if Zach doesn't bring a thaw to the In-law's house, apparently something long overdue.

The author has been so good about not making anyone - except Zach's mom - a total villain or a complete hero, just real people with flaws and foibles, along with their strengths. I'ts going to be a LONG weekend before the hearing.

Thank you VERY VERY much! I always get a little frustrated when everything seems a little too black and white in a story. It's ok to have a 'villain' and a 'hero', but all the best stories make you feel for an antagonist at times and make you frustrated with the protagonist.

 

Everything with Sarah will be explained, I promise. ;)

 

I have a friend who I hoped that her kids would help alleviate the tensions between her and her parents. Unfortunately, her mother sees them as yet more pawns to manipulate in her game, but in general, yes, little kids are miracle workers at thawing tensions in family. Just wait until you hear the first words out of Zach's mouth to Lydia! :)

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In laws....I've many times wondered why God even created them to begin with; my own history, being somewhat jaded makes me distrust their involvement with Zach, Noah and Scott. In adition, your description of them is eerily familiar....however, I am hopeful that they will have some redeeming qualities and everyone can find some common ground where healing and growth can occur, I'm looking forward to reading the next few chapters to see how it plays out.....it does happen in "real life", doesn't it? Fitz, as usual, I look forward to each chapter, this one is no exception :yes: ..........Mike

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On 04/13/2013 01:30 AM, flamingo136 said:
In laws....I've many times wondered why God even created them to begin with; my own history, being somewhat jaded makes me distrust their involvement with Zach, Noah and Scott. In adition, your description of them is eerily familiar....however, I am hopeful that they will have some redeeming qualities and everyone can find some common ground where healing and growth can occur, I'm looking forward to reading the next few chapters to see how it plays out.....it does happen in "real life", doesn't it? Fitz, as usual, I look forward to each chapter, this one is no exception :yes: ..........Mike
Your inlaws must have been worse than mine! Mine mean well, but are just stubborn and stuck in their ways. Richard is doing this for the right reasons. Zach is adorable, so expect him to find ways to thaw the tension a bit!
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I ditto everyone else's comments. I think Zach will be the ice-breaker during the weekend. After all, who can resist an adorable four-year old? lol

 

The scene in the cemetery was really moving. I think it's great that Scott goes to Steve's grave to tell him everything that's going on in his life.

 

I was also surprised that Sarah actually said anything to Zach. I really don't think that was her place at all; it should have come from his 'two dads'.

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On 04/14/2013 10:40 AM, Lisa said:
I ditto everyone else's comments. I think Zach will be the ice-breaker during the weekend. After all, who can resist an adorable four-year old? lol

 

The scene in the cemetery was really moving. I think it's great that Scott goes to Steve's grave to tell him everything that's going on in his life.

 

I was also surprised that Sarah actually said anything to Zach. I really don't think that was her place at all; it should have come from his 'two dads'.

Apparently Willow can resist him ;)

 

Glad you liked it! Sarah's motives will be made clear in a couple chapters! :P

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