Posting this one early because life apparently has decided to get in the way of writing and I have a lot going on over the next 4-5 days.
Hopefully I still can find some time to get another chapter out, but just in case, I promise I won't let you hang too long!
Lex gets to experience a little more of family dynamics.
Once all of the introductions had been made, Kathy took control and like a military general issued orders to get things moving. The three kids were sent outside to shuck the corn. It was a messy job and Lex was glad he didn’t have to do it. Kathy and Jessie stayed in the kitchen and continued peeling and slicing potatoes and onions for roasting. Sean, Lex and Ian were sent to set up the volleyball net and make sure there were toys in the pool and towels were set out. Rick was sent to clean the grill and make sure the coolers had ice and drinks.
The afternoon rolled along smoothly. Once all the chores had been taken care of the gang headed out to the backyard to play volleyball. Lex was teamed up with Rick and Jessie on one side of the net and Sean and Kathy joined Ian on the opposite side. The three little kids scooted back and forth under the net generally getting in the way. Lex could tell there was a bit of good natured sibling rivalry between the brothers as they always spiked it towards each other whenever one of them served. They didn’t bother to keep score as everyone was laughing too much as no one was taking the game seriously. When the little kids started to get underfoot, Rick suggested throwing them in the pool. Not literally of course. The little kids dashed into the house to get their bathing suits and the adults did the same.
Ian looked at Lex and with hooded eyes told him “What I wouldn’t give right now to see you in a Speedo, better yet, I wouldn’t mind skinny dipping with you.” as he licked his lips.
Lex blinked and swallowed hard. “I don’t think your mom or Jessie wants to see your naked ass,” he joked.
“But you do.” Ian sot back.
Lex smiled, two could play at this game, and gave Ian a smoking hot look and whispered close to his ear “Not gonna deny it.” and gave him a quick smack to his ass as he headed over to the pool and parked himself on one of the loungers in the shade, making sure to be back far enough from the splash zone.
In a few minutes time the large built in pool was filled with kids, both big and little. The big ones would throw the little ones high up in the air, their squeals getting cut off when they hit the water in the deep end. Kathy, having foregone the pool antics had gone back up to the house to finish the dinner preparations. Lex asked her if she needed help and she told him to stay put and make sure no one drowned. Lex had no problem with that although he had a hard time, in more ways than one, keeping his eyes on anyone other than his smoking hot boyfriend. Lex made sure to keep his knees bent as he laid back on the lounger to hide the telltale bulge in his shorts. The sight of Ian’s well defined chest with a light smattering of hair across both pecs leading down to a tempting treasure trail nearly made him drool, not to mention his well defined abs with that oh so sexy V pointing downward.
After a good hour Kathy called from the deck and yelled a ten minute warning. Lex had to smile at the way the pool emptied out. Rick was the first one out of the pool and dried off. Kathy had already fired up the grill and he took the large platter of steaks from her and it didn’t take long before the smoky, meaty scent of cooking steak permeated the air. Lex made his way inside and was quickly put to work and carried out a large tray of condiments and set it on the big table on the deck. Several platters of corn on the cob and two big bowls of roasted potatoes and onions were added to the smorgasbord. Kathy came out with a big bowl of salad and then everyone was scrambling to be seated. Ian pulled Lex into the chair next to him and slid his hand onto his knee, giving it a gentle squeeze. The next several minutes the conversation centered around passing the salt, the butter, the dressing and whatever else one needed. Jessie and Rick were quick and efficient at getting the boys set up with their plates of food. The steak itself, to Rick’s credit was perfectly done. Apparently a preference for medium rare ran in the family.
Once everyone was settled in and enjoying their food Kathy looked at Lex and said “So Lex, tell us about yourself.”
Lex tensed slightly and Ian, being protective of his boyfriend’s privacy shot her a look and cut in saying “Mom, I already told you about him.”
Lex smiled at him, gave his knee a squeeze and placated “It’s OK.”
Turning to Kathy he gave he an abridged version of his life making sure to avoid all references to the trauma he endured. Ian had already told her that he was working on a full back tattoo and Kathy knew she would get not get any details regarding that from either one of them. He glossed over his teen years and focused on his travels during the past few years. They discovered that they had visited some of the same sights and compared their impressions. Rick asked him about his job and Lex stuck with his standard reply of being an independent IT consultant specializing in network security.
It was Sean who asked him what he was going to do after his tattoo was finished. Lex was caught off guard and looking at Ian he managed to stammer out “I, uh, well I, really haven’t thought that far ahead.” He and Ian had not discussed the future and Lex didn’t know if Ian would want him to stay on or not. He knew they would have to discuss it soon. The tattoo was almost done and Lex’s mind briefly flickered to the unfinished business waiting for him in Boston he knew he had to take care of. Yet one more thing he needed to come clean to Ian about.
Ian, sensing his discomfort glared at his brother and said “Lex is a big boy, he can do whatever makes him comfortable.”
Kathy, ever the diplomat, started clearing the table and looking at the little kids commanded “Whoever wants watermelon had better help clear the table and clean up.” The little kids and the adults made quick work of cleaning and putting everything away. After the watermelon was brought out conversation was centered on the wedding festivities coming up. It was Jessie’s cousin who was getting married. The wedding and reception was going to take place at Mount Holyoke College where the cousin had graduated from. Rick and Kathy said they were going to watch the kids so the adults could enjoy themselves.
Kevin piped up and bouncing excitedly asked “Can we go see Horton? Can we?”
Hannah, having been rather quiet, brightened up and added “Please Grandpa? I want to see Dr. Seuss!!! Pleeaasseee!”
Ian laughed and with a mischievous grin looked at Lex and offered “How about you three can help me show Lex the Dr. Seuss Memorial and then maybe we can take him to the zoo?” Three voiced squealed in sync and Ian looked at Lex and said “Wanna take the kids on a field trip with me?”
Lex shook his head and smiled and knew he’d just been roped into spending the following day with Ian’s niece and nephews.
Jessie turned to Ian and joked “You better warn him what’s in store for him.”
Kathy, always the practical one, suggested that they stay there for the night and offered the guest room. Ian looked at Lex and deferred to him “It’s up to you.”
Lex thought about it and noting how late it was getting he acquiesced and replied “Thank you Kathy, I’d rather not have to ride the bike this late anyways.” He glanced over at Ian who had broken out in a wide grin.
As the adults sat out on the deck enjoying coffee and light conversation the kids chased fireflies. Rick had lit a fire in the fire pit and Kathy brought out a big bag of marshmallows and the kids scrambled off to find long sticks. Later, when Jessie noticed the boys eyes starting to droop she gathered up the sticky young ones and took them to get washed up and into bed. The remaining adults relaxed watching the flames dance as they burned down.
Eventually it was just Lex and Ian. Ian reached over and pulled Lex onto his lap. “Are you really OK with staying here?” he asked.
Lex leaned back slightly and replied “Yeah, I like your family. They all have good auras. Your mom and dad are soul mates. Did you know that? True soul mates have a bright white thread connecting them. It’s pretty rare. But yeah, they have it.”
Ian was quiet before he said softly “It doesn’t surprise me. They’ve always been able to be in tune with each other, they finish each other’s sentences and you can just feel the love coming from them. It’s what I’ve always hoped I would find. Come on, let’s go to bed. I need to hold you.”
Lex stood up and took Ian’s hand thinking about what he said and let himself be led upstairs to the guest room at the end of the hall. They quickly took turns in the bathroom and when Lex slid under the covers Ian was already there and pulled him close. They had stripped down to their boxers and settled comfortably into the big spoon/little spoon position with Ian being the big spoon. Lex thought about the last time they had slept in the same bed and was happy that this time he was actually remembering it. He smiled to himself as he felt, as well as heard Ian breathe in his scent. He wrapped his hands across the ones pulled close to his chest and drifted off.
The following morning after waking up around 7:00, Lex knew it was Ian who made him feel safe and enabled him to get a full night’s sleep. He rolled over and was able to enjoy gazing at the beautiful man still sleeping next to him. He took in the sharp edges of his jawline, slightly softened with sleep and lined with stubble. Long lashes rested gently along the top of high cheekbones hiding the gorgeous blues eyes. He looked longingly at the full lips, the urge to taste them strong. Lex refrained from doing so, respecting Ian’s decision. He smiled as the countenance before him shifted as its owner started to stir from his slumber. It didn’t take long before he was pinned by a summer blue gaze. As the gaze dropped from his own eyes down to his lips Lex brought his hand up and stopped those lips from touching his own. With restraint he didn’t know he possessed he told the sleepy man “No breaking your own rules, remember?”
Ian groaned, and coming to full awareness said with a gravelly, sleepy voice growled “You would remind me, wouldn’t you?” So instead of a morning kiss Lex found himself being pulled into strong arms and was wrapped in a full body hug. He breathed in the intoxicating scent of pure man. “Did you sleep well?” Ian asked.
Lex answered him “Apparently all I need is you next to me and I can sleep through the night.” Just as they were becoming aware of the awakening hardness of each other’s erections the thundering patter of small feet could be heard coming down the hallway and coming to a halt right outside their door.
“Unkin! Unkin! Are you up? Grandma’s making waffles. And bacon! Unkin!?” two voices cried from the other side of the door.
Ian laughed and rubbing his still hard length along Lex he answered “We’re up now. Tell Grandma we’ll be down in a few minutes.” Lex snorted at the double entendre. Hearing the sound of little feet as they herded back down the hallway Ian looked at Lex and said “Are you sure you’re OK with spending the day with the Three Musketeers? They can be a handful.”
Lex replied “They’re cute, besides I get to spend the day with you too don’t I?”
Ian gave him a quick squeeze and slid out of bed. “I’ll let you take a quick shower first. Towels are in the bathroom closet. I can take mine after we eat,” as he pulled on his shorts and t-shirt. Then with a quick wink he opened the door and headed downstairs.
Lex pulled himself out of bed and grabbing his shorts and the extra t-shirt he had brought went into the ensuite bathroom. Ten minutes later he emerged, hair still wet but combed back and made his way down the stairs to the kitchen.
Seated at the big table Patrick and Kevin were devouring their waffles and bacon. Hannah still looked sleepy as she poured syrup over the waffle that had just been placed in front of her. Kathy turned from the stove and told him to help himself to coffee or juice. Three waffle irons were in use on the counter and Kathy was tending to the bacon on the stove. Rick was pouring cups of milk for the three kids and Ian was trying to steal some bacon.
“Sean and Jessie are sleeping in. They don’t get to enjoy someone else taking care of breakfast for the kids very often. They’ll be out late tonight with the wedding festivities so they might as well enjoy the extra sleep now.” Kathy informed them.
Lex poured himself a cup of coffee and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Kathy told him “Sit down and take this bacon thief with you before I break his fingers and he won’t be able to finish your tattoo.”
Lex snickered and with a pointed look at Ian replied “We wouldn’t want to delay finishing the tattoo now would we Ian?”
Ian shot Lex a steamy look and said “Nope” as he sat down and folded his hands in front of him on the edge of the table in the guise of behaving. Rick helped Kathy set the large platters of waffles and bacon on the table. Sitting themselves down, the four adults helped themselves. Lex almost groaned out loud when he tasted the waffle. It was light and crisp and with the real Vermont maple syrup it almost melted in his mouth.
In short order Ian had finished his waffles and after helping himself to more bacon he excused himself and went upstairs to take his shower. Once the kids were done and sticky hands and faces wiped off everyone helped clear the table. The extra waffles and bacon were set aside for Sean and Jessie and by the time the dishwasher was loaded and the skillets and waffle irons cleaned Ian was back downstairs.
His mom looked at him and called him out “You know you don’t get away with not helping in this house. Wipe off the table and take out the recycles and trash.”she said as she tossed him a sponge. Knowing he was caught he at least had the sense to keep his mouth shut.
When Ian came back inside after taking the trash out to the garage he looked at the kids and asked “Are you guys ready?’
An emphatic ‘YES’ was the answer. Rick grabbed a set of keys off a hook on the wall and told Ian to use Kathy’s SUV as it already had the booster seats in the back. After getting everyone buckled in they were on their way.
It wasn’t too long of a drive as it was a Saturday morning and because it was still rather early they were easily able to find parking at the Springfield Library. The library was part of what was known as the Quadrangle. A collection of several museum buildings forming a square, in the center of which was their target, the Dr. Seuss Memorial. It was an outdoor collection of bronze sculptures. All of them being characters from the vast collection of Dr. Seuss stories. Ian explained to Lex that Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss had been born and raised in Springfield.
Before letting anyone out of the SUV, Ian asked the kids “So what are the rules guys?”
Hannah looked pointedly at her brothers and in a firm big sister voice said “We stay where we can see you and no yelling like banshees or running like a herd of elephants.” The little boys giggled and Lex had to turn his face front to hide his smile.
Ian, keeping a straight face added “And hold hands when we have to cross a street or whenever we tell you to. OK, let’s go.” The kids clambered out of the car and they all made their way the short distance to where they could see the large statue of Horton towering over the Memorial. Lex was impressed. While not a very large area it was spaced out enough that the kids could explore the various sculptures while remaining in sight of the adults. In addition to a very large Horton there were sculptures of Thing One and Thing Two, the Grinch and his dog Sam, Sally Lou Who, a tall tower of turtles with Yertle on top. There was a giant bronze book, ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ opened up and a chair in front of it. Ian took pictures of each of the kids sitting on the chair. In the center of the Memorial with a bronze foot propped up on a bronze writing desk was the likeness of Dr. Seuss himself, the Cat in the Hat standing next to him. The kids had a blast climbing on the smaller statues and posing for pictures. Ian and Lex joined in the fun letting the kids take their picture and everyone laughed at the silly faces they made.
When the kids started to wind down they walked over to the children’s museum and spent a few hours exploring and listening to the guides explain the various exhibits and participating in the hands on activities. It was almost noon and Ian asked the kids if they were hungry. Surprisingly they were all still feeling the big breakfast they had eaten. Looking over at Lex, Ian suggested that they head over to the zoo and they could get a snack there, then on the way home they could stop and pick up some pizza and bring it back so Kathy wouldn’t have to cook again. Lex agreed and after Ian texted Kathy the plans, they herded the kids back to the SUV.
The drive to the zoo was short and after finding a place to park Ian paid their admission and they made their way in. Ian explained to Lex that the zoo had been around a long time. His parents took him and Sean when they were kids and their parents had taken them. Nowadays it served more as an educational center rather than a ‘let’s go look at the monkeys and elephants’ place that it used to be. They all had a great time exploring.
As the afternoon turned into early evening and they were making their way back to the parking lot Lex looked over at an old beat up Chevy parked in the far corner of the lot. The window was down and in the driver’s seat was a young guy probably in his late teens. Lex took hold of Hannah’s hand and said to Ian in a firm voice while glancing over at the car “We need to get going. Now.” Trusting his instincts, Ian followed Lex’s gaze and scooping up the boys into his arms picked up his pace a little and headed over to their vehicle. The two quickly got the kids buckled in and then they were on their way.
Once they were on the road Ian glanced over at Lex, who merely said “later.”
Understanding it wasn’t something they could discuss in front of the kids Ian handed him his phone and said “Call the number that says Gianni’s and order a party size with half combo and half cheese and a large pepperoni. Lex made the call and they were able to pick up the pizzas on their way back to the house.
Dinner was over with rather quickly as the adults were hungry and the kids were tired. After big hugs and kisses of thanks were given to Ian and Lex, Kathy took the kids upstairs to put them to bed. Rick, Ian and Lex enjoyed a cup of coffee and were joined by Kathy after she had the kids tucked in. Kathy asked if they were staying over again.
This time Ian answered “No, I have an appointment tomorrow morning and I’m sure Lex has things he needs to catch up on too.” Lex nodded his agreement and after thanking Rick and Kathy for their hospitality the two men gathered up their stuff, packed it in the saddlebags and were on their way.