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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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Dichotomy of Love - 24. Part Two. The End.

The handmade solid wood bedside table vibrated with the force of a dozen thunderstorms. Kyan reached for his phone blindly, sending last night's bottle of lube flying.

“Hello?” he mumbled into the phone.

“Aunt Jess is passing Rose’s market. She said we have to call and make sure you’re awake before she will bring us home. She said she’s saving you from, umm—” Noah’s voice was muffled as he spoke to his aunt. “Future traumatic therapy bills.”

Kyan laughed into his pillow. “Tell her to drive slow.”

“Dad says drive slow.”

“How slow?” Jessica replied loud enough so Kyan could hear her.

“How slow should she drive?”

“Twenty minutes.”


He looked at his phone and cursed. It was already eight-thirty. Kyan rolled on top of Perry, who was face down with his right arm above his head and a knee to his chest, and pressed him into the mattress.

“Wake up! Jessica’s on her way over. We have to get moving.”

Perry grunted but didn’t move, keeping his face buried in the pillow. Kyan ripped the sheet off and slapped his firm, bare ass before jumping in the shower alone. It was for the best. With Jessica and the kids on the way, he couldn’t afford the distraction, and it would be a distraction. On the rare occasion that Perry bottomed, he was insatiable the next day. Watching Perry go completely feral was Kyan’s favorite thing. They usually picked a weekend when the kids were gone for more than one night to switch roles, but fate had different plans last night.

Kyan dried off and ran his fingers through his freshly cut hair, admiring the new look in the mirror. It was shorter than he normally had it, but he liked it. Gone was the shag. He felt older, more mature. He had nothing to prove to anyone, but the new cut gave him confidence.

He was dressing in the clothes he’d laid out the previous day when he heard his name. Still buttoning his short-sleeved blue cotton shirt, Kyan turned towards the bed. Perry lifted his hand, which was secured to the bedpost with a black silk tie. “You just gonna leave me here?”

Kyan walked to the bed with a grin, unbound him, and kissed his wrist. “You weren’t complaining about it last night.”

Perry winced as he stood, then enveloped Kyan in a big hug. “I wasn’t worried about kids walking in and asking me questions I wouldn’t want to answer.”

Kyan inhaled. Perry smelled warm and cozy and a little musky. Kyan ran his hand over Perry’s fleshy mound and squeezed. “They’ll be here in less than three minutes. If you don’t want to answer those questions, I suggest you get moving.”

He turned away, but Perry pulled him back and pressed their lips together. Before they got carried away, which happened all the time because there was no incentive to tell Perry no, Kyan pushed off. “Shower. You have lube spread all over your butt and hip.”

Perry narrowed his eyes predatorily. The corner of his mouth curled as he lunged forward. Kyan shrieked, but he was used to this side of Perry. He jumped backward before Perry could nab him, then ran out of the room, laughing.

He was still smiling as he streamed the iPad to the television.

The security system beeped as Jessica pulled up.

Your sister is here!

Another beep. Kyan looked at the camera monitor that sat on the corner of the kitchen counter and smiled.

And your parents!”

He opened the front door, and the kids stormed up the steps and into the house without so much as a good morning. Jessica, Charlie, and Trudy made up for it by kissing him on his cheek as they walked past. Jed slung his arm over Kyan’s shoulder and walked him into the house.

A freshly showered Perry entered the kitchen. His cheeks were rosy, the way they always got when he stood under scalding hot water. He went straight to Kyan and kissed his cheeks before greeting his family. Jessica pretended to gag at how gross her brother was, but Kyan loved how Perry made him feel.

He waved everyone to the living room. “I have everything queued up and ready.”

“Are you nervous?” Jessica asked as she followed him to the living room, where everyone gathered around the television that was streaming livingtheloelife’s Instagram page.

“Of course I am. If Loren Patrick picks me for his Small Business Saturday Showcase, it will change everything.”

But it wasn’t a guarantee that Kyan would make the cut. He was a finalist, thanks to Charlie. She submitted an application on his behalf through Loren’s website. Loren was impressed enough that he and his husband Jay had flown to Oregon to discuss possible endorsement. They carefully reviewed Kyan’s business plan, from his mission statement to production and shipping. His accountant provided proof that everything was on the up and up.

Kyan never had time for social media before. Raising four kids provided enough entertainment, and he didn’t feel left out when the rest of the world didn’t ‘like’ a funny picture of Gracie dressed in an Elsa costume, complete with Woody’s cowboy hat and boots. Charlie, Jessica, and even Perry needed to explain how Instagram and TikTok could rocket his product into the next must-have item that would have every Karen out there beating the snot out of each other to grab the last one off the shelf at Target.

Jessica and Charlie were huge fans of Loren Patrick and couldn’t gush enough about how hot he and his husband Jay were. They were a striking couple, but what impressed Kyle the most was how down-to-earth they were. Loren immediately put him at ease, and Jay was downright loveable, like a giant teddy bear. Loren’s ongoing success with Livingtheloelife was due to his dedication, which showed how much his followers trusted his judgment. Kyan could appreciate that. At the end of the meeting, Loren agreed to consider Kyan’s product for endorsement on his show and arranged for all the legal paperwork to be sent. Even with all of the signatures and every ‘I’ dotted and ‘T’ crossed, there was still no guarantee Loren would choose to highlight his invention. If he did, Jessica assured him it would change his life. If so, he hoped he could live up to the expectation. “He’s going live!” Charlie yelled as she clicked the little icon with Loren’s picture.

Loren stood in his kitchen, smiling. “Good morning for those like me on the West Coast, and good afternoon to those pretty much everywhere else in the US and good evening and middle of the night for the rest of you.” While he waited for more people to join his live stream, he nattered on about other topics.

“I wish they’d hurry up,” Charlie said impatiently as she rocked on the balls of her feet.

“If Kyan is chosen, don’t we want as many people online as possible?” Jessica challenged.

Charlie huffed and rolled her eyes, flicking her blonde hair backward as she watched the screen.

Soon, Loren was talking about the Small Business Saturday Showcase. “You know Jay and I take this very seriously. We vet every business to make sure they’re the real deal. This week's small business has truly made our lives easier. It’s one of those things you don’t know you need until you have it, and then you don’t know how you lived without it.”

Kyan’s heart thumped in his chest as the camera followed Loren up the massive stairs and into a bedroom. He covered his mouth. Oh my god.

I don’t know about you, but the girls are constantly destroying their rooms. Toys everywhere. Pillows everywhere. Bedding EVERYWHERE.”

Charlie’s jaw dropped, then she jumped around the room, screaming.

Oh my god. Kyan looked at Perry in disbelief. He was being showcased. HE was being SHOWCASED! As much as he hoped he’d get picked, he didn’t think it could happen. There were so many deserving people. Why him?

Perry smiled wide. He wrapped his arms around Kyan as they continued to watch.

BedSack has changed the game. It slips over the mattress like a fitted sheet and has a built-in flat sheet and comforter that zips on both sides. With a light cotton interior for warmer weather and a flannel liner for cooler months—”

As Loren demoed the product, everyone around Kyan celebrated. They fist-pumped the air, high-fived each other, and whooped. Trudy wiped tears from her cheek. The kids came running to see what the fuss was.

“BedSack is about to blow up!” Jessica told them, spinning Ava around like a ceiling fan.

They jumped up and down. Kyan had dedicated most of the past year to this endeavor, and the kids were his guinea pigs. They were as much a part of the success as anyone else.

They came in for a giant family hug, with the kids in the middle like the best cream filling.

Not only are they functional, they’re also stylish.

Jessica stepped back and curtsied. Kyan admittedly didn’t have an eye for that part of the design, but Jessica did. She’d been respectful not to overstep, but she was quick to help Kyan make the right choices. Her knack for pairing colors and patterns brought life to an otherwise plain-looking design.

Like the rest of it, the zipper is amazing quality. It’s thick and easy to use. Even the girls can do it.”

Everyone turned to Jed. He shrugged, grinning proudly. “I told you it needed a good zipper.”

“And the design is universal. These are not just for little kids. BedSacks come in every size, including twin-extra long for college dorm beds to RV king sheets for those long road trips. And we have them on all our guest beds.”

Kyan’s phone peeped with a text from Max. Everything Jay and Loren touch turns to gold and you’re about to be the pot at the end of the rainbow my friend! Love you! PS tell coach we got snacks

Kyan pulled Perry’s arms tighter around him as he watched Loren talk about his bedding. “Max has snacks for Noah’s game.”

Just then, one of the adorable Petermeyer-Patrick twin girls ran into the room. She jumped into Loren’s arms and smiled at the camera like she was made for it. A moment later, Jay came in, carrying the other twin. Her face rested on his broad shoulder as she scowled at the camera.

“Oh look, it’s the two sides of Gracie,” Jessica joked as Gracie ran by, her blinding smile fading into a menacing glare at the sound of her name before taking off again.

For seven minutes, Loren, Jay, and the girls reviewed the product. The twins showed how easy and functional it was. They showed the girls' rooms, the guest rooms, and their RV. “For the next forty-eight hours, if you use the code LOELIFE, you’ll get twenty-five percent off your order and free shipping.”

Within minutes, Kyan’s email notifications dinged nonstop as orders flooded in. He blinked back tears. It was happening. The thing that started as a distraction from Perry was now a defining accomplishment – something that brought him great joy and pride, and a way to provide for his family.

He could have stood there all day and watched the wonders of social media, but it was Saturday: game day. Perry loaded the gear into the SUV the day before and laid out all the uniforms. It was go time.

The kids split themselves up. Noah and Henry wanted to ride with their dad and Uncle Perry. Gracie with Trudy and Jed because she could most likely convince them to stop for hot chocolate on the way, and Ava jumped in with Jessica and Charlie because her cousin was so big and cool.

Kyan checked the software one last time while Perry herded everyone out of the house. Two-thousand orders, and Loren wasn’t done promoting them yet.

He shook his head as he locked the door behind him. How was this his life?


“Are you even watching the game?” Max asked with a teasing smile as they huddled together on the metal bleachers under a large fleece blanket. It was a shockingly cool June day. The weather wasn’t sure what it wanted to do. Was it summer? Was it spring?

“Of course I am.”

“What just happened?”

Kyan’s gaze went to the field. “Umm…”

Max laughed. “That’s what I thought. I don’t blame you that your brain is elsewhere. Loren Patrick just launched you into space, and you have a big vacation coming up. The first time you’ll be leaving the kids, AND for two weeks. I’m a little jealous.”

“Even though Reid will be there?”

Max huffed and crossed his arms. “I’m just butt-hurt that you invited him and not me.”

“Technically, they invited us. Besides, I told you you should come.”

“Not how it works, but I appreciate it.”

Before Kyan could pester Max into going with them, Henry walked out of the dugout with a bat. Was he good at baseball? No. But was he so handsome in his uniform? One hundred times, yes. Kyan could die.

Perry followed Henry, wearing khakis and a royal blue city league, Steele Electric sponsored t-shirt and matching ball cap he wore forward facing for once. He was so professional-looking. Perry kneeled with his hands on Henry’s shoulders and spoke softly, encouraging the timid player.

Kyan’s heart went a little crazy.

Whatever Perry said made Henry smile, dimples and all. He straightened his back as he strutted to the plate, lifted each cleat to tap it against the bat like he’d seen on TV, and took a few practice swings—only to miss the first two pitches. He hit the third one and made it to third base thanks to player error. Kyan jumped into the air, knocking the blanket to the bleachers, and cheered as Henry rounded the bases, holding the little-too-big helmet on his head with one hand while he pumped his other for all it was worth.

Henry’s team won, but Perry’s work wasn’t done. While he switched out his t-shirt for a deep cardinal red, Steele Trucking-sponsored shirt for Noah’s team, Jed and Trudy came over. Each carried a cardboard box, the kind you’d find a dozen doughnuts in, but these were filled with hotdogs and chips from the concession stand. Jed wore a red shirt, and Trudy wore royal blue.

Max and Kyan grabbed food and said bye and hi as the spectators changed. Perry came over, kissed Kyan’s cheek, grabbed a hotdog from the box, and stuffed it into his mouth as he jogged back to the field so they could begin warmups.

Cassie and her husband Rich, parents to Koa, a friend of Noah’s, sat behind him and Max. She squeezed Kyan’s shoulders. “Congratulations Mr. Small Business Saturday.”

“Thanks, Cass. It’s a little surreal.”

“Have you gotten a lot of orders?”

Kyan grinned, a little too big, but he couldn’t stop himself. “You could say that.”

“Thousands!” Max blurted. He turned around to look at their friends. “Thousands of orders before he left this morning. Who knows what he’s at now? He could end up with seventy-five thousand. Who knows?!”

“Good.” Cassie smiled. “We ordered three sets.”

“Oh, you didn’t have to.”

“Of course we did! You deserve it!”

“We ordered, too,” another parent said. Todd-something. Anthony’s dad.

A woman raised her hand. “Two sets.”

More hands. More sets ordered.

As it turns out, at least half the parents attending were fans of Loren and Jay and ordered out of support. Kyan had to turn back to the game because he was so choked up. The parents that once judged him now rallied behind him.

Ava and some of her friends with siblings on either team stood in front of the parents and put together some cheers.

Gracie tried to join in but couldn’t keep up, so she got mad and ran to her favorite hype guy.

Max caught her, situated her on his lap, and covered her with the blanket. “Girl. You don’t need that drama. What you do need is a hot dog.” He turned and found Jed and Trudy. “You got any hot dogs left with extra mustard?”

Gracie shrieked, grabbed his cheeks with her sticky fingers, and turned Max’s face so he was looking at her. She shook her head. “No mudard and nooo yucky stuff, Midder Max!”

He laughed and looked back at the grandparents. “Sorry. Do you have a plain hotdog?”

Trudy handed one over, along with a bag of chips. Gracie grinned and got to work devouring her treat.

Noah’s team continued their undefeated streak. With no help ‌from Kyan, Noah was a natural athlete. The first year in the sport, and he was likely making All-Stars. Imagine if he began playing when he was five? Kyan tried to not feel guilty for not making extracurricular activities a priority before now.

“We’ll bring Keegan to the house and meet you there?” Kyan said to Max as they folded the blanket and got ready to go.

“It’s not every Saturday I have Keegan now that he is with his mom. He would be pissed if we didn’t spend the day with you guys.”


Max and Kyan looked over the orders while the kids ran around. The volume was more than he let himself dream about. It was hard to get overly excited. Maybe once the orders shipped out, but then he’d worry about everyone’s satisfaction.

Kyan chewed on a thumbnail. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”

“Stop that right now,” Perry said, swooping in with a kiss as he pressed the phone to his ear. “Kyan’s doubting himself… I know that’s what I said… I know.” He looked at Kyan and grinned. “Reid says hi.”

“Oh! Tell him I invited Max to the Bahamas.”

Max whacked his arm and leveled him with a glare so heated its burn would linger for years. “I hate you.”

Perry stopped and listened, then relayed the message. “Reid says there are no rooms left, but he has an extra bed in his bungalow.”

Max rolled his eyes. “Oh, I’m sure he does.”

“You could stay with us.”

“No. No, he can’t,” Perry cut in before that thought took traction. He looked at Max. “You can’t.”

“Nasty. I’d rather sleep in the same bungalow as Reid.”

Perry pressed the phone to his ear. “Max said he’ll take the extra bed, but he’s not paying for it.”

“That is not what I said. Perry!” he shouted. “Don’t lie like that. Argh!

Perry ignored him and walked outside while talking to Reid about last-minute details.

“I am not bunking with Reid.”

“What's the big deal? You’ll be in separate beds.”

“Yeah, right! Haven’t you read a single romance book? They always show up just to find out, ‘oh, we messed up the reservations. There’s only one bed’.

“Is that what you want?”

“God, no!”

Kyan looked at him skeptically.

Absolutely not.”

Kyan raised his brow.

Max stood up. “I don’t need to sit here and take this abuse. Keegan! Time to go!

“I’ll send you our flight info.”

Max huffed and grabbed his jacket. “Bye.”

“Better start packing, we fly out Wednesday. We’ll pick you up on the way to the airport. Be ready.”

Kyan laughed when Max left, storming past Perry on his way to his Range Rover. Instead of waving, he flipped him the bird. A stark contrast to the ever-proper Max, with his perfect blonde hair, slacks, and collared oxford shirt. He realized, aside from their time at the club, Kyan had never seen Max dressed down—except the one time he wore jeans, but they were so nice looking Kyan would hardly call them casual. He always dressed nicely, even for the weekend games. Did the man wear silk pajamas like Barney Stinson? When on vacation, did he let loose and wear cargo shorts and a polo?

Nah. Max probably wore a linen ensemble that floated in the breeze.

Kyan went back to his orders. He couldn’t stop staring as the numbers climbed.

He hired a firm to do the legwork. They submitted the orders to the manufacturer and then shipped the product. It was expensive, but after seeing the preliminary numbers, he knew it was worth it. Loren had suggested it—even gave him a business card with the manager’s direct number written on it.

Was that Loren’s way of letting Kyan know he needed to prepare for the tidal wave that was heading his way?

When Perry returned, still wearing his baseball stuff, Kyan turned the laptop around. Perry’s gaze searched the screen, landed on the number, and his eyes widened. He coughed. “Wow!” Then he looked at Kyan like he was something special. Like it was Kyan who made it all happen, not Loren and Jay.

He grabbed Kyan by his thighs and hefted him onto the island. Kyan was not some petite child, but Perry got him up there effortlessly, like always.

Kyan wrapped his legs around Perry and smiled. “Today has been a day.”

“And it’s not over.”


Gracie sat criss-crossed on the island while Noah, Ava, and Henry stood between Kyan and Perry as they prepared a feast, each with their own stool. Around five, the front door opened. Jessica and Charlie walked in, holding their own dishes.

“We come bearing the world’s best mac-n-cheese.”

Henry got down off his stool and ran to Jessica. He breathed in the aroma, and his eyes rolled back.

“Just like your mama,” Jessica said as she messed up his neatly combed hair.

A few minutes later, Jed and Trudy came in. They didn’t need to announce themselves, the lasagna and fresh-baked chocolate pie did it for them. The kids swarmed their grandparents.

“We can have the dessert first, right?” Noah asked, staring at the pie. Then he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, catching drool before it fell.

Jed laughed and placed the food on the table, where the kids had put out place settings. “A boy after Dayna’s own heart.”

They arranged the table with food—Dayna’s favorites, as everyone recalled—and sat to eat.

Gracie refused to sit in her booster, too busy fiddling with a toy. They could barely see her over the table.

Normally, the kids wouldn’t dig into the chocolate pie first, but after one year, it was now tradition. On Dayna’s Day, as they’d christened the anniversary of her death, anything went, as long as it was what Dayna would have wanted.

Trudy passed out the dessert plates. “When your mom was ten, she found the pie and ate the entire thing before anyone arrived. We found her throwing up in the toilet. I don’t think she had much to be thankful for that Thanksgiving.”

The kids laughed.

Jessica helped Henry scoop mac-n-cheese onto his plate. “If your mom could have, she would have lived off of it when she was your age. This was the first dish she learned to cook on her own, and she cooked it just for you.”

When everyone had their plates full, they shared stories of their daughter, sister, and wife. The kids mostly listened and sometimes asked questions. Kyan loved this tradition. It was a great way to keep her memories alive in his kids, who were mostly too young to remember themselves.

“Perry, what is your favorite thing about our mom?” Ava asked of the abnormally quiet man.

Kyan squeezed Perry’s knee, knowing this was a difficult subject. No one expected Perry to lie, to make up things for the sake of the kids, but they all agreed the kids were too young to air his grievances. Maybe one day in the future he could share his truth.

But he smiled, seemingly unfazed by the question. “You. You four are my favorite thing about my sister.” He looked at Kyan, his eyes full of fondness. “And also her taste in men.”

Gracie growled, barely scowling over the table. “What da heck is dis? I gets da box open an’ it’s not even a toy!” she yelled as she held up a black box.

A jewelry box.

Everyone froze.

“Where’d you get that?” Jessica asked.

“In da bag Dad is packing for da trip.”

Everyone looked at Kyan, but he shrugged. It wasn’t his. He did have a single thing packed yet.

Oh shit. His heart stopped.

Perry chuckled, taking the ring box from Gracie. “What were you doing in my bag?” he asked with no malice, only humored curiosity.

“Looking for candy.”

Perry leaned forward on his elbows and studied the box as everyone watched in deafening silence. After the longest moment in history, he looked at Kyan, nudged the box in his direction, and cocked his brow questioningly. “What do you think?”

Please take a moment to like, comment, or even better, leave a quick review and let me know what you thought. If you haven't already, make sure you recommend the story for future readers.
I want to thank each of you for your continued support. I have no words... because I've used them up in the story lol.
Copyright © 2023 Mrsgnomie; 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.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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