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    Mrsgnomie
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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.

Jay's Loelife - 26. Baby Mugget

chapter
twenty-six
jay

 

I finish sanitizing the last bottle, carefully setting it on the dry rack. On my way upstairs, I grab the laundry basket full of freshly washed baby blankets and onesies and drop it off outside Seamus and Matt’s room. Then, because I can, I slip my phone out of my pocket and look at the picture Seamus just sent of Carson passing his car seat test.

All the happiness inside me bubbles up and out of me in a giddy little scream. With the excitement released, I pocket my phone, take a deep breath, and open the bedroom door where Aidan and Loren are chilling in my bed while Loren works and Aidan watches cartoons on my big screen tv.

I kneel next to Aidan and prop my head on my fist. “Are you excited about your little brother?”

He shrugs, not taking his eyes off the tv for a moment. He’s been relatively animated about the abstract concept of his brother, but a little boost can’t hurt, right? Loren glances up from his laptop and grins at my failed attempt to lure Aidan to the ‘darkside’, as he puts it.

I playfully punch Aidan’s arm and earn a glare in return because all he wants to do is binge his tv show. “They’re on their way home. Let’s go downstairs and get ready to greet them!” Four is nowhere near a teenager, but Aidan rolls his eyes like one and then dramatically slides out of bed. I laugh as he sulks away, then I turn back to Loren and point my finger at him. “You too, buddy.”

Being cute, Loren also rolls his eyes and dramatically slides out of bed.

Following a still-slow-on-the-stairs Aidan, we head to the living room. I grab the bag of decorations I bought and dump it out on the living room floor. Aidan perks up.

I wave a bag of blue balloons and a roll of streamers. “I thought it would be fun to decorate this place for your brother. What do you think?”

Aidan is all over it. Loren grabs the small helium tank from the garage and we get to work decorating the place. It’s not much, but it’s done with love. Best of all, Aidan is jumping up and down when the front door opens.

Surprise!” Aidan yells with his hands in the air. “It’s my birthday!”

Loren covers Aidan’s mouth and smiles. “This is for Carson’s birthday.”

Ignoring the two-man sideshow, I crowd around the carseat. My heart stops at the sight of the tiniest, littlest, most adorable child. His pink, scrunched-up face looks so peaceful as he snoozes, perfectly tucked in. Oh god, I bite my knuckle to keep from snatching him up.

Loren nudges me aside. “Let them in.”

I reluctantly move so they can get settled on the sectional. Once they have Carson out, I bring Aidan over and we get him comfortable.

“Say hi to Carson,” Matt says as he and Seamus present the newest addition.

Aidan studies the little blanket bundle. His face scrunches. “I don’t wike him.”

Matt and Seamus look at each other, shocked they didn’t get the picture perfect meet-and-greet. I laugh into Loren’s shoulder, so grateful he got the entire thing on film.

I have to give it to them. They keep trying to get Aidan to warm up to his little brother, but it doesn’t work.

Loren and I watch it go down. With a grin, Loren leans his head toward me and whispers, “He has about as much interest in the baby as I have in women. Maybe less.” I cover my face so they won’t see me laugh.

Eventually, Aidan slides off the couch and joins us on the opposite side of the room from his brother. He tugs Loren’s shirt and points upstairs. I laugh. Aidan has discovered the joys of the big screen television with the surround sound. Perfect viewing for his favorite funny cat videos.

There is really nothing keeping Loren around the baby either. As Loren gets up. This time it’s me who tugs his shirt. I give him the look. “Talk Carson up,” I whisper.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

If left unsupervised, they’d both end up in Mexico to get away from the little babe in the living room. Loren would surely let Aidan pick any street dog he wanted, and they’d walk the streets of Mexico side by side as Kado and Kado Jr. trot happily ahead.

I watch my friends as they continue to love on Carson. What an amazing feeling it must be. My own heart is on the verge of exploding and Carson is not even mine. I can’t imagine how they must be feeling. It’s overwhelming to imagine the love you’d feel for your own child.

“Do you want to hold him?” Matt asks.

More than anything. “No, I’m actually gonna head upstairs and give you guys some privacy. I’ll try and talk some sense into Aidan while I’m at it. Can I get either of you something before I disappear?”

Matt smiles softly, thankful for the offering. “We’re okay. Thank you though.”

I steal one last glance at the sleeping face before leaving the room. I know, without a doubt, once I hold him, I will never put him down.

“You don’t seem excited about your little brother.” I hear Loren say as I near the open door to the bedroom. Smiling, I stand out of sight. No way do I want to barge in on such a precious conversion.

“He’s not a funny cat.”

Loren’s chuckles. “You better get excited. Brothers are awesome! Have you met Uncle Jay’s brothers?”

“Uncle Jay has brophers?!”

“Two, and they’re the best. They’re always there for each other. Like a built-in best friend.”

“But you my bestfrwend!” Aidan says with bubbling excitement. And since no one is there to judge Loren, I just know he’s grinning, maybe even hugging the little spud nugget.

“You’re my best friend, too.”

Bingo.

“Did you know I have a brother?”

My heart ceases to beat.

Nothing is said, and then finally. “Lowen! It’s you!”

“Nah. That’s my identical twin brother, Lars. Do you know what identical twins are?”

I cover my laugh with my hand as I listen to Loren explain, in non-age-appropriate terms, how identical twins form when a single fertilized egg splits, forming two identical twins. Then he explains fraternal twins. Again, in non-age-appropriate terms, which is so Loren.

“Anyway, we used to be inseparable as kids. He was my best friend in the world. Then we…got separated and I haven’t seen him since. I started looking for him a while ago. It turns out he changed his last name to McNeary. I think it’s his wife’s name. I don’t blame him, I changed my last name a long time ago. Do you ever watch SpongeBob?” Loren asks.

“SpongeBob square pants, SpongeBob square pants, SpongeBoooooooob! Square paaants!” Aidan sings, proving he’s familiar with the show. Also proving he can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

“You know his friend Patrick?”

No way…

Loren sighs. “There is a reason kids shouldn’t be trusted with certain things until they’re deemed adults. No no one knows, so it’s our little secret, okay?”

There’s a lot of back and forth shushing and a little giggling. Loren talks more about his childhood and his brother. They must have his account pulled up on Instagram because I hear the faint sound of video playback.

“That’s his wife, Courtney.”

As much as I wish Loren was talking to me about this, I decide to leave them to it. Clearly, he needs to process through this monumental decision with Mr. Potato. If there is anything I’ve learned about Loren, it’s that he does things in his own way.

As I turn and walk away, Loren says, “How do you know how to get into the DMs? You’re too young for that! What are you doing? Do you think I should message Lars? What should I say?”

“Send ‘em funny cat videos.”

He chuckles. “I’m sure he’d appreciate those. But I was thinking something simple like this—can you even read? You really are dependent on adults. Must be nice.”

“What’s demendent?”

“Dependent,” Loren repeats. “It means you can’t do anything without a big person.”

“I am a big person!”

“Mhm, sure.”

“I am! I’m super big!”

“Enough about you. I’m still trying to figure out what to say to my long-lost brother. How about, ‘hey. It’s been a while. I was hoping we might be able to talk?’ or maybe, ‘hey Lars. I know this is out of the blue. I’ve wanted to reach out for a long time, but I only just found you. I was hoping you might want to meet up for a long overdue chat?’

Aidan hums thoughtfully. “That one!”

“Erm? How about this?” There is a long pause and then— “‘Hey’. It’s not much, but it’s enough. Okay, sent. Now let's go downstairs and hold your little brother.”

“But I don't want to.”

“Then I guess if you’re not really a big kid…”

“I am a big kid!”

“Mmm, I don’t think so. If you were a big kid, then you would be downstairs right now, helping your dads and taking the best care of your little brother.”

“I am! See?” A moment later, Aidan runs around the corner, plowing into my legs. His nose scrunches and his eyes narrow. “Outta my way! I gotta be a big brother!”

I step to the side and gesture for him to go. “Run along then.”

Aidan runs past me. He grabs the stair rail and starts his descent, one step at a time, the way little kids do.

“How long have you been standing there?” Loren leans against the doorjamb with his arms crossed, one eyebrow raised as he watches me expectantly.

“Long enough to know why you picked Patrick as your last name.”

“Ha. Ha.”

I grin and pull him into my arms, wrapping him tight. I sway us back and forth lightly. “You texted your brother?”

“I did.”

“I’m proud of you.”

“He probably won’t respond.”

“Maybe he’ll surprise you.”

****

My heart flutters as I gaze down at the cutest little baby tucked into Seamus’ lap. His little head lolled to the side as he sleeps. With the gentlest touch, I brush his baby fine, red hair to the side. I lean forward until my nose brushes the top of his head and inhale. There is nothing better than a newborn.

“I’m visiting MB today.” Loren reminds me. He’s on the other side of the sectional with Aidan. They’re each wearing an earbud as they watch funny videos on Loren’s phone.

“I’ll go with you. I’d like to see how she’s doing.”

Seamus carefully picks Carson up off his lap and presents him to me. “Do you want to hold him before you go?”

My heart thumps in my chest. I glance at Loren. “Maybe Aidan wants another go?

Aidan rolls his eyes. “He’s ugwy.”

Loren tries not to laugh. “Well, you were an ugly baby, too. So let's be nice.”

I raise my brow. “Maybe if you held Carson, Aidan would see he’s not so bad,” I say.

Loren’s jaw drops. He looks at me like you’ve got to be kidding me with this shit. Instead of taking the bait, he pushes Aidan closer to me, then stands up. “I have to re-organize the van to fit all of MB’s stuff.”

Aidan looks at Loren the way Loren just looked at me. Are you kidding me with this shit?

Loren nudges Aidan. “Be an awesome big kid and hold your brother, okay?”

Aido Potato stares at his brother, then looks at me and says, “I gotta owganize MB’s tuff.” He slides off the sofa.

It takes everything I have to hide the laugh that’s desperate to escape.

Matt and Seamus frown as he runs and catches up to Loren, grabbing his hand as they disappear around the corner.

Matt sighs. “As prepared as I thought I was, it really sucks that Aidan doesn’t like Carson.”

“It’s an adjustment,” I tell him. As the first born, I can attest that it’s not an easy transition. “It probably doesn’t help that this new routine isn’t happening in the comfort of your own home. Loren and I want to be as helpful as we can without stepping on toes. If you want us to leave you guys alone, we will. If you want us to help keep Aidan entertained, we can do that, too.”

“You guys are great,” Matt says. “I’m sure Aidan will benefit from the extra attention. Maybe in a few days, you guys could keep an eye on Little Tater so we can give Aidan some one-on-one attention?”

I grin. I’d love to keep Little Tater company almost as much as I want to see Loren keeping him company. Maybe without Seamus and Matt around, Loren will stop being aloof. He was hesitant with Aidan at first, but look at them now. They’re like two peas in a pod, always hanging out together, being best friends, sharing earbuds. I was hopeful his practice with Aidan would transition to Carson. The prospect is not looking good.

“So, you guys are heading to MB’s?” Seamus asks as he strokes the baby’s back. I nod. “I can’t believe how much stuff there is for her.”

“I can.” It’s a fraction of what Loren gets.

“See how MB’s feeling. I’d love for her and the family to come visit when she’s feeling better. If it’s not too much for her.”

“I know you’re worried that this is going to be some big traumatic thing for her, but she knows exactly how this goes down. If she wanted to bring home a baby, she’d have had another one of her own, not yours.”

“I know. It’s still stressful. Too many horror stories.”

“There’s a million more that go smoothly.”

He takes a breath and relaxes into the sofa with his son on his chest. “She’s amazing. She gave us the sweetest little gift. It’s hard not to feel guilty, knowing how terrible the delivery ended up being on her.”

Matt cringes. “All she ever talked about was how easy her two had been and then she carries for us and boom, she gets preeclampsia and is rushed into surgery, where she hemorrhages out because the placenta doesn’t detach. She could’ve died bringing Carson into the world.”

We’re silent as we recall how traumatic the last sixty hours have been. Loren mentioned early on that IVF pregnancies and deliveries had a statistically higher rate of complications, but the pregnancy had been such a breeze, it gave us all a false sense of security.

“Are you sure you don’t want to hold him?” Matt asks again.

Carson is curled on  Seamus’s chest like a little potato bug. I glance at the garage. Loading all MB’s loot is no small task. Tap my fingers on my thighs. He’ll probably be gone for a while...

I shoot to the edge of the sofa and hold my hands out. Gimme, gimme. “Okay. Yeah, I’ll hold him.” I’m not even breathing as I slip my hands around the baby and slowly lift him from his dad. He’s so tiny. Only six-pounds. My heart pounds in my chest.

But then the door that leads from the garage opens and I panic. Seamus and I are still intermingled. I haven’t fully taken Carson, so I quickly put him back in his dad’s arms and step away just as Loren enters the living room. He’s not even paying attention to us, instead, searching the living room for something. After he finds it, he looks at me.

“I’m ready to head to MB’s.”

“Okay, cool. Let me grab my jacket.”

Matt and Seamus are sitting there with mouths open as I shoot them a sheepish grin.

When I come back from the bedroom, Loren is dragging a crying Aidan into the living room. “You can’t come with us,” he says as he picks Aidan up because the kicking and screaming makes it so he can’t even drag him.

It all goes downhill from there. The ruckus wakes Carson up and he joins in, screaming his little lungs off. Loren tries to hand Aidan over to Matt but Aidan resists and his dad has to pry the little fingers off my boyfriend. All the while, Seamus bounces Carson around the living room, trying to calm him down.

Loren looks at me, his eyes wide, and nods to the garage. Lets get the fuck outta here.

“We can take—”

Matt vigorously shakes his head. Okay then. It’s obvious they want to handle the situation as a family. I follow Loren to the garage.

“What a shit show!” he says as he gets in the van. “I promise I tried to talk Carson up, but damn, he did not want to be left behind.”

“No he didn’t. But they gotta figure this out.”

“I kind of felt bad,” he says with a scrunched up face.

“Me too. But that is life with two kids.”

He doesn’t say it aloud, but his face shows how much he doesn’t want that kind of chaos for himself.

****

I feel like a delivery driver as we unload all the packages onto the sidewalk outside MB’s modest ranch style home. MB opens the front door and watches with a stunned expression.

“Oh shit, let me help,” her husband offers, taking packages from the curb to the living room. With all the packages safely in the house, Loren hands MB the fully caffeinated coffee she’s been dreaming about since she got pregnant.

“Just remember, no one told you caffeine was off limits,” he reminds her. “You did that to yourself.”

She closes her eyes and takes a long, cherished sip. When she finishes, it’s like the weight of the world has been lifted. “I was just trying to be a good lady oven.”

I give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. She looks great, a little tired, but I imagine that’s normal for having grown and delivered a human less than five days ago. “You were the best lady oven anyone could ask for. Now sit and let's open all this stuff.”

She sits next to Loren in loose fitting pajamas. He’s wearing joggers and a sweatshirt. I think he did it on purpose to make her feel comfortable. While she rests, we sift through the packages. Skin care, clothes, food, fitness stuff, stuff for her kids and a bunch of stuff for her husband. It’s like Christmas on steroids.

Her eyes well with tears as she looks at the outpouring of gifts. “I don’t know what I did to deserve all this.”

“Are you kidding?” I ask. “This hardly makes up for what you’ve done, and I’m not talking about the act of carrying a child for someone else, I’m talking about how generous and kind you were through the process. You submersed all of us in the journey, but mostly, you made Matt and Seamus feel like it was theirs.”

“It was theirs,” she says as she sniffles the tears back. “It’s their baby.”

“Yes, and you made sure they got to experience every part of that. You were amazing.”

“How are you feeling?” Loren asks. “You still look a little puffy.” Only Loren can get away with telling a woman she looks puffy and not be cold-clocked into next week.

“The swelling should go down in the next few days. Just as my hormones kick in. My blood pressure has been borderline high, so they’re monitoring me for postpartum preeclampsia.  Other than that, I’m feeling great. Seeing Matt and Seamus with Carson was almost better than seeing my own kids for the first time.”

“No regrets?” he asks. “Was handing Carson over harder than you anticipated?”

“Heavens no. No regrets. I feel confirmed.”

“Do you and the fam want to come over and visit soon?”

MB looks hopeful. “You think they’d be okay with it?”

“They absolutely want you guys to come visit, or they can come to you. Whatever works for you.”

I watch Loren as he chats with MB. He knows the ‌impact he has and the power he possesses, but he thinks it’s specific to online. He doesn’t realize that his power is from within. Right now, there are no cameras. Nothing is getting posted. He’s sitting here asking MB no bullshit, real questions. Questions that make me uncomfortable, but he gets to the heart of it all, and not once does MB look irritated or uncomfortable. She just did this big, life-changing thing.

It’s obvious she wants to talk about it, but she feels like she’s walking on eggshells, not wanting to worry Matt and Seamus. Ironically, that’s exactly how Matt and Seamus feel about her. Then there’s Loren, who just straight up asks MB if she has regrets. A question we all wonder, but only he has the courage to ask. He’s a force.

****

I love having my friends here. I love being Uncle Jay, but I love being ‘boyfriend Jay’ the most. Loren might feel like this baby is taking priority and, in some ways, Carson is, but I still see the pain Loren has been carrying. Lars hasn’t responded yet. On top of that stress, the house is full of new family dynamics. There’s a baby and a jealous toddler. I don’t think he saw his life unfolding like this.

“You’re amazing,” I tell him.

He leans his forehead against my shoulder. “I’m tired. I’m good for a few more days and then I’m heading home. This isn’t really my scene.”

I smile to myself. “You can leave as soon as Aidan accepts Carson.”

Why didn’t you say so?!” Before he can rush off, the garage door opens and Aidan peeks through with a real annoyed look.

Baby is cwying.”

Loren sweeps Aidan into his arms and talks about how amazing little brothers are and how they should find a super funny cat video and share it with Carson.

Two days later, Aidan is on the couch holding his brother, and he doesn’t even look angry about it. He’s warming up, thanks to Loren. As a four-year-old, Aidan doesn’t care about how many followers Loren has, he cares about something deeper. Proving that Loren has so much more influence than he realizes.

Loren warms up to Carson, too. Not enough to hold him, but he coos at him a few times and even bops his nose. Mostly, he keeps his distance, opting to keep Aidan entertained when needed or making dinner. I follow his lead, doing what he does. Keeping pace.

After a week, Loren’s had enough. Everyone’s in the living room. The TV is on low, Aidan is tucked into Matt’s side as he reads a book, while Seamus finishes burping Little Tater. I’m sitting in our usual spot on the other side, watching. Loren grabs my arms and forces me up. He drags me to the other side and shoves me down next to Seamus. He reaches for Carson, hesitating momentarily. His face looks like he’s about to reach into a septic tank. He cringes, then gently plucks the tiny tot from Seamus’s shoulder like he’s picking up a puppy or a kitten and hands him to me.

His arms flail for a moment as he adjusts to the sudden movement. He stretches really big then relaxes with his hands on his chest. Carson is wide awake, his gray eyes open wide.

Oh my god. A tidal wave of emotion erupts, and my eyes fill with tears. I brush them away with the back of my hand. Still, my lip quivers. “He’s so perfect.”

Loren leans down and kisses the top of my head. “I’m taking off. I fly out tomorrow morning and I have nothing packed. Call me later, okay?”

I nod‌ and Loren laughs. I don’t care. I can’t stop looking at Carson. He’s not mine but I know how much Matt and Seamus wanted him and I was a part of the entire process from start until this very moment. So much went into bringing this tiny human into the world. I can’t believe he’s here.

“Loren’s right,” Seamus says as he pieces everything together. “You haven’t held Carson. Every time we ask, you deflect. Why? I thought we’d have to pry him out of your arms.”

I continue staring at those little gray, content eyes. “I didn't want to freak Loren out. He’ll convince himself that I want kids more than anything and he’ll run away.”

“He didn’t seem to run away just now.”

I look up and stare at my clueless friend. “Where is he?” I deadpan.

“He has to get ready for his flight?”

“Mhm.”

Seamus scrubs his face with his hand in frustration. “You clearly want—”

“Stop.”

“Why? You’re giving up—”

“I said stop. It might be hard for you to understand, but I’m not giving up anything. Do I want kids? Of course. But not as much as I want Loren. Not even close. Trust me on this.”

Seamus doesn’t say anything, but I can see it pains him to do so. I ignore him and focus on Carson.  All the legal stuff is done. Carson has a follow up next week. There’s a good chance they’ll be going home in a week. Which means I need to savor every moment. When he falls asleep, I lay him on the other end of the sectional and curl myself around him. We just…exist.

The cushion dips and little hands grip my shoulders. Aidan’s face hovers above me with a face splitting smile. “Can I smuggle too?”

“Get in here.” I protect Carson with my arm while Aidan gracelessly weasels his way in until he’s wedged between the back cushion and his brother. His smile matches my own. Aido Potato pats his sleeping brother's head before kissing him. “I wuv the baby mugget.”

****

The house is quiet. No toys on the floor, no baby bottles on the counter, no empty plastic plates in the sink, or apple cores in the couch cushions. I grab the remote and turn the TV on just to have something in the background. Then I text Loren because I miss him like crazy. I’m tempted to write something gushy but decide to speak Loren instead.

I’m horny

Straight and to the point. Just the way he likes it.

His reply is instant. Can you not be so obsessed with me?

Impossible, I reply.

Four more days until he gets back. Then two weeks until vacation. Mexico will look different this year. We’re not bachelors looking for a getaway. We’re family men and it’s about time the trip reflects this‌. It’s one of the many good things happening.

There’s really only one thing that is keeping me from enjoying life to the fullest, and it’s Lars. Larson McNeary. Some people might say it's not my business to intervene, but if I can’t advocate for Loren, then what’s the point of being in a deep and committed relationship? It took all Loren’s courage to reach out to his brother, and for what? To come up empty? Loren was rejected by his family once, he’s not going to stand at the front of that line and be hit over and over. But I’ll stand there for him. The only fear I have is the fear that this gaping hole inside him may never fully heal.

Lars can ignore Loren but he can’t ignore me. I find his profile and start typing out a message. There’s a lot I want to say but little that actually needs to be said.

Loren will be home from a work trip Tuesday afternoon. Either tell him you want to meet up or tell him you’re not interested. Whatever you do, tell him something.

Send.

The message is marked as ‘read’ almost instantly, but he doesn’t respond. That’s fine. It’s not me who deserves a reply anyway.

****

Waiting for Loren is brutal, so I decide to drive over early to Puyallup and visit MB. She’s having a rough day, so I entertain her girls for a few hours so she can relax. I leave with only minutes to spare and a promise to be back. 

Loren shoulders sideways past me with a bag in both hands. “Stop staring at me and help haul my crap in. It’s pouring outside.”

“Hi honey, how's your day?” I ask with a flat, even tone.

Loren sets the stuff down, then turns with a humored smile. “Hi honey, how’s your day? Mine would be better if you helped get my crap out of the van.” Once he sees me, his jaw drops. “Christ almighty, what happened to you?”

I gingerly touch my rouged cheek, then pat my pink hair. “Sav and Suzie had a go at me. I think it’s rather good.”

He touches the pink in my hair and rubs the remnants between his fingers. “What is this?”

“Blush? Lipstick? Eyeshadow? Testosterone absorbing powder? Your guess is as good as mine.”

He laughs and heads towards the door. “I’ll grab the stuff. I don’t want you to ruin your full face.”

I dash ahead of him and grab everything I can, leaving one measly tote for him to carry. On the way back in, he sings, ‘what a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man’, making me laugh.

I watch as he takes the lids off the totes and starts pulling things out. If he had a choice, Loren would unpack everything right away. But I pull him away. “It’s seven-o’clock. All this can be put away tomorrow.” I slide my hand under his shirt, feeling his cold, pebbled skin against my warm hands. 

Loren sags against me. The stress of being on the road for a week weighing him down. “But if I get it put away now, then I don’t have to do it tomorrow.”

The man has a point. There are far better things to do tomorrow. I grab his hips, turn him, and set him on the stool. I slide a plate of takeout in front of him, then get to work stuffing the washer with dirty laundry and sorting the gear to be put away. By the time his plate is clean and put in the dishwasher, there’s very little left for him to do except to take a long, relaxing shower.

And a quick blowjob.

You’d think I hadn’t seen him in months the way I drag him to the living room and tuck the good blanket around him. He smiles softly as I smother him. “Miss me or something?” he asks as he runs his thumb over my cheek. He looks at me like he missed me more than I could ever know.

I lean forward until our lips meet. “I miss you even when you’re not gone.”

Sated from the shower and the orgasm, we make out a little, but mostly we talk. The TV hums the tune of some mundane show in the background, while Loren tells me all about his adventures. It was his first climb since the accident. They also went swimming in the frigid, winter waters, relaxed in natural hot springs, and raced across the salt flats.

I’m a little jealous I wasn’t there. Despite being retired and having minimal obligations, I wasn’t sure how long Matt and Seamus would need to stay with me. In hindsight, I could’ve left anyway. They didn’t need me, but I did get extra time with ‘mugget’, so there’s that.

I stretch back casually, giving Loren a little space. “I’m sure you have lots of DMs to catch up on.”

“I don’t. If I did, they’d have to wait. I’m not doing much of anything except you for the next twenty-four hours.”

Hmmm, that sounds like a good twenty-four hours and I hope he decides to do me a lot. But…

“I like reading through your DMs. It’s entertaining.”

“There are some real winners,” he agrees with a hot-as-sin smirk. “But they can wait.”

My jaw ticks. I slip my phone out and text Ruby. Any IG DM’s from Larson McNeary?

Ruby: Hmm. Lemme check! BRB
Ruby: Nope. Nothing at all in the chat history with that name

I furrow my brows as I re-read the text. No chat history? Loren said he messaged him on Instagram. It doesn’t make sense. There has to be a chat history.

****

Overthinking all night makes my eyes feel like lead weights in the morning. I reach out, confirming that Loren is sleeping next to me. I relax into the mattress and let sleep take me again. When I awake again, I’m achingly hard, my balls pulled tight. Cum is boiling to the point of explosion.

“G’morning,” Loren purrs in my ear. He’s straddling me with his back arched and his chest pressed to mine. “I was wondering when the other half of you was going to wake up.”

I spread my legs and grip his hips. “I need to cum,” I tell him. Loren slides his arms around my neck and kisses me. I moan as his warm body slides across mine. I pull him tighter. “God, you feel good.”

Loren sits up. With his hands pressed against chest, he starts riding me. He looks good with lust filled brown eyes and morning hair. His muscles flex and his eyes roll back in his head. Loren’s just as keyed up as I am. I slide my hand between us, squeezing us together. Loren shudders, his hips thrusting erratically. It feels good. I tense and let his body bring me over the edge with a cry. Loren turns feral, chasing his orgasm like a wild west horse race. When he cums, I flip him over and cover him with my body.

“I’m so damn lucky,” I tell him. “You’re everything I ever wanted and more.” He smiles lazily and stretches under me. We lay there, wrapped around each other; teasing and flirting for another hour.

“I thought about Lars while you were gone,” I tell him. “I know it would be hard, but I think you should reach out one more time.”

“If he wanted to talk, he would’ve responded.”

“Maybe,” I say, kind of but not really agreeing. He tracked Loren down. Why wouldn’t Lars want to see him now? It doesn’t make any sense. “We don’t know what he’s been through, maybe one more attempt is what he needs.” I motion for him to give me his phone.

Loren reaches across the bed and swipes it from the nightstand. Before handing it over, he hesitates. It’s a big step. His DMs are flooded. I type Larson McNeary in the search bar. As Ruby said, there is no history.

Loren grabs the phone and quickly taps the screen, switching to a different account. “This is my decoy account. I didn’t want him to see I was watching his stories or accidentally like a photo and alert him that I’d found him. I also didn’t want the five other people who might read the DMs to see that I reached out to Lars.”

My heart quickens. I have the smartest, most amazing boyfriend ever. I can’t stop staring at him. As he looks at the phone, the spot between his eyes furrows. He sits up, putting the full weight of his upper body on my chest.

Loren looks at me, his eyes wide; panicked, afraid, relieved. “There’s a message,” he says quietly. “From Lars. It says ‘Wow, Loren, I don’t know what to say. I’ve tried to reply for weeks but it kind of feels like I have one shot and I don’t want to say the wrong thing and risk not hearing the truth from you. I don’t know if there’s a lot for us to cover after 23 years, or maybe not so much at all. Whatever it is, I’d rather not chat over the internet if it’s the same to you. We deserve face-to-face. Well, I deserve it. Let me know if you want to arrange something. I’m assuming that’s what this is all about.’”

Loren takes a breath and reads the message a few more times. When he finishes, he looks past me into the dark abyss of his thoughts. I give him a moment to process this monumental advancement. I wonder to myself, what a reunion between these brothers would be like. As a lifelong optimist, I can see the good.

He digs his elbows into my chest and types out a response, proofs it, then reads it aloud. “‘I’d like to meet up. How about the first week of April?’ How does that sound?” He asks. “Simple and to the point. I don’t want to type out too much, right? But should I set parameters for what I’d like to discuss?”

“To set parameters is to limit how far your conversation can go.”

“No, you’re right. Okay, I guess I’ll send this?” His finger hovers for a moment. Done. Loren studies his phone, almost like he’s analyzing his decision. Was it good? Should he have said something different? His eyes flash. “He’s reading it. He’s typing. Shit.” He puts the phone down on my chest and stares at me as if I can do something about it. My chest vibrates. We both look down.

When he doesn’t reach for it right away, I ask, “Do you want me to read it?”

He picks up his phone and reads the message. “Looks like April will work. He wants me to fly there, something about his work schedule. Are there days that work better for you?” he asks me. “I should send him some options, right?”

My heart burst. There’s not a question in his mind. I’m going with him. Of course I am. He couldn’t stop me. “I’m wide open.”

“Okay. I’m going to tell him we’ll be there for ten days.”

“Ten days sounds good.” After he wraps it up, I rub his arm. “You okay?”

“I might puke,” he says, half joking. Though he looks a little wrung out.

“This is going to be a long month, isn’t it?”

Loren throws himself back on the mattress. “I have a feeling it’s going to crawl.”

****

I come back from a long endorsement shoot to an empty house. Loren hadn’t mentioned being gone, but he’s a busy guy, so I think nothing of it. A few hours later, he marches through the house and stops when he finds me cleaning the laundry room. I’ve got a lot to do before we head to Mexico for two weeks.

He braces himself in the door frame. I can’t read his expression. I don’t know if he’s shocked or amused, but then he laughs. “Guess what.”

I wipe the cupboard down, then carefully put the cleaning products back in it. “I really have no idea.”

“Guess who’s pregnant.”

I chuckle because it seems gossipy, and that’s not really Loren’s style. “MB?”

What? No.”

“Ruby?” I really don’t know any other women that he’d react this way about.”

“Corey—”

Oh, that is news. I guess he and his girl have been dating for about a year. It’s not completely out of left field. Hopefully, they’re serious. A kid is a big deal.

And Isaac.”

I freeze. Slowly turn. “I didn’t know he was seeing anyone.”

“They went on a couple of dates.”

“Clearly those dates went well.”

Loren laughs. “Yeah, real well.”

“How are they feeling about it?”

“Corey’s stoked. He would’ve wanted it to go differently, but he’s not upset. Isaac’s a little shocked.”

“Does he like the lady?”

“Seems to. I guess we’ll find out. He’s introducing us to her here in a bit. I’m actually getting ready to head out. I just wanted to tell you in person. Holy shit! I can’t believe they’re both going to be dads!”

“Seems like there are a lot of kiddos around us now. Aidan, Carson, Sav, Suzie, and now two more coming.”

“No kidding. Cole is double wrapping his dick now. He wants kids, but not yet. I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about that kind of surprise,” he says, his expression still fogged by surprise. “Well, I’m heading out.”

I smile as I fold the cleaning rags and stack them neatly in the cabinet. “Bye,” I say to myself. Loren’s come and gone like the energizer bunny. I can only imagine him passing out if he found out he was a dad. He can not want to have kids all he wants, but he’s sure warming up to them being in his life, and that’s a win for me.

“Oh, one more thing,” Loren says, popping back into the door frame and startling me. “Matt texted me. Said he and Seamus have something they want to talk about when we get to Mexico.”

Copyright © 2022 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.
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