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    Paladin
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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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Andre and Chris - 10. Chapter 10

Back from Melbourne we both returned to work. Nothing urgent had happened over Easter but I still had a list of routine issues that had been logged and needed attention. I was by myself as Tyron had asked if he could have the rest of the week off to go surfing with his mates and work on some Uni assignments. He had been backup if I needed him over Easter so I couldn’t refuse.

The next Tuesday came very quickly. Skye had phoned during the week and weekend. She was so excited about going back to work for four days a week and so anxious that she had everything organized for William to be properly looked after while she was at work. She overwhelmed me with information and instructions for looking after him. In fact, she phoned at least once a day to check things with me. Beau phoned once to let me know it wasn’t just me. She was so excited she also repeatedly phoned the two grandmothers with instructions for looking after William. They kept trying to reassure her that they had some experience looking after babies. Skye also explained the seat belts I needed to buy to secure the baby capsule in the back seat of my car. This was so I could pick him up and drop him of when necessary.

Come Tuesday, Skye arrived as Andre was leaving for work. He kissed me, wished me luck, hugged and kissed Skye on the cheek and left with a big smirk on his face. William was sound asleep and looking just so angelic neither of us wanted to disturb him. I helped Skye bring in the baby capsule with the strings of colourful and visually attractive objects stung across it. Then the bag of bottles of expressed milk, spare nappies and some spare clothes. As I put the expressed milk in the fridge, I commented that William seems to travel with more stuff than Andre and I needed for our trip to Melbourne. Skye just laughed and replied that on their trip to Yamba, three quarters of the car was taken up with William and the baby stuff and the remainder was her and Beau with their two small bags.

When everything was organized Skye said goodbye to William, thanked me with a hug and a kiss and told me to ring her if there were any problems. I glanced at the sleeping William. There couldn’t be any problems.

I put the baby capsule with the sleeping William in the bedroom. He was still just small enough for the baby capsule to be a bed for him when he was being looked after as well as providing safe travel in a car. After checking that I had everything William needed, Skye went off to work. Everything was quiet so I worried that he was OK. I went in to check on him. Yes, he was still asleep and breathing regularly. Relief and back to work. After the third time I checked on him I admitted to myself that I didn’t have any experience with babies so I turned to that invaluable source of information we all know: Doctor Google and YouTube.

I was part way through the first reassuring YouTube video when I heard a cry from the bedroom. He was awake. I checked his nappy. Wet. I gathered what I needed, put a towel on the bed and William on the towel. The YouTube video about changing a nappy was easy to follow and the baby in the video was cooperative and just stayed still and gurgled. William obviously hadn’t seen the video and didn’t know to stay still. He considered this was a game, and giggled, wriggled, kicked and rolled every way he could to frustrate every attempt to change his nappy.

I finally won and he was all cleaned, powdered and in a clean nappy. He looked up at me, smiled and started crying again. I looked at the clock. OK it was time for his first feed. I grabbed a bottle of expressed milk from the fridge and warmed it up. Soon he was sucking contentedly on his bottle and drifting off to sleep again.

I went back to alternating work with checking “how to look after a baby” videos. The next time I heard a loud cry I looked at the clock and it was time for another feed. Another nappy change. This time a poopy nappy. Again, squirming William had no intention of making cleaning him easy. Eventually cleaned and in a new nappy he settled down to another bottle.

This time he finished the bottle and didn’t go to sleep. He looked uncomfortable so I picked him up and burped him. He seemed more comfortable, so I went to put him back in the baby capsule. He wasn’t having that. I picked him up and was patting his back and trying to work out what to do. I wondered if there was another YouTube video that would help when William baby vomited. It covered my shoulder and ran down the back of my shirt.

With the immaculate timing of a sitcom, the doorbell rang. Carrying William with his head still on my vomit covered shoulder, I opened the door and was surprised to see Tyron standing there.

“Tyron. What are you doing here? I thought you were at Uni today completing and submitting an assignment?”

“I found I could do it all online, so I didn’t have to go on campus. I didn’t know you had a baby.”

“I don’t.”

William gave another cry.

“Well If it looks like a baby, sounds like a baby,” He sniffed the whiff of baby vomit in the air,“And smells like a baby, I reckon it’s a baby.”

William turned, looked at Tyron and gurgled.

I couldn’t help smiling. “Obviously it’s a baby. It’s just that he’s not mine. I’m looking after him for my, sort of, sister-in-law.”

William squirmed while still crying. I managed to hold him.

Tyron grinned and shook his head. “You’re not used to this are you? If you were, you’d know to at least have a towel on your shoulder.”

“It’s my first day.”

“Here let me take him.” Tyron moved and took William out of my arms. “You should change your shirt.” He rocked, smiled and made funny faces at William who gurgled, smiled and giggled. “He’s really cute. Are you sure he’s not yours?”

I knew he was teasing. “Dare you to say that to his father. Anyway, aren’t you too straight to be drawing a cuteness connection between me and William. Like you’re suggesting I’m cute?”

He ignored me and said “Oh, his name’s William” as he placed the baby in his baby capsule and cleaned his face with a small towel. He had followed me into the bedroom where I took off my baby puked shirt and put on a clean one. Tyron found a bright red and white rattle and, saying William’s name, waved it over the baby capsule. William’s head moved towards the sound and his eyes brightened. Tyron moved it closer so William would reach out and try to grab it. The smiles and giggles were becoming infectious.

“He’s awake and just needs to play for a while.”

“How did you learn so much about looking after babies. Do they teach it in high school now?”

“School? Shit no! I’m the very youngest of four siblings. My two oldest are sisters who have babies that mum looks after a lot. I just got involved and learnt along the way.”

Tyron continued to keep eye contact with William and wave the rattle around as he talked to me. It was obvious when William had had enough play after his feed, as he settled down and was falling asleep again.

“Thanks for helping with William, but why are you here?”

“I just came to check that everything was OK over Easter. I mean you didn’t call me or anything.”

“I didn’t need to. There were no problems. I hope I didn’t spoil your Easter by having you on call.”

“No, it didn’t. I used it as an excuse to get my girlfriend to come over and spend the weekend with me.”

“So you had a sexy Easter?”

“Absolutely we did and isn’t that what you and Andre planned doing? The difference is I got paid for being ‘on duty’.”

We both laughed and I shook my head. “I can see I’m going to enjoy having you working with me.”

I made coffee and some sandwiches, and we talked about work, my YouTube channel and his Uni course for the next hour. I took this opportunity to tell Tyron about Jackson. He was interested in meeting Jackson.

Tyron said he needed to go home. Before leaving he walked into the bedroom where William was still asleep.

“He really is cute.” Then with a glint in his eyes, “Are you sure he’s not yours?”

I feigned annoyance. “No, he’s not. I am sure and I think it’s time you left.”

He caught the playfulness in my voice and laughed. “You are cute you know.”

I couldn’t help but join in the laughter. “And you’re fun. See you tomorrow.”

“Sure. Working with you is much better than working for dad.”

It was almost as if William had sensed that Tyron had left because he started crying as soon as I closed the door. This time I was better prepared, but it still took an hour to settle him down again. It wasn’t time for a regular feed, so I changed his dirty nappy again (how do babies produce so much?), played with him using the colourful toys, picked him up and carried him around talking to him. I tried singing to him. That was a definite no, no and I can’t say I blame him. Eventually his eyes started to droop so I put him back in his baby capsule and rocked him into a deep sleep.

I needed another coffee.

I had just finished the coffee and decided that I really sucked at looking after a baby when the doorbell rang. Hoping it hadn’t woken William, I quickly moved to open the door. Michael and Jamie were standing here. I blinked.

“Come in. I wasn’t expecting you. Thought you’d be at work.”

I stepped back and hugged and kissed Jamie as he entered and then Michael.

“The hospital’s quiet so we snuck out a bit early. They’ll call if I’m needed. Andre still at work?”

“Yeah.” I glanced at the clock. “But he should be home soon. Would you like a drink. Coffee, beer, wine?”

Michael was still technically on duty so chose coffee while Jamie went for a wine.

While I was making the coffee Michael asked, “Is today the day you’re babysitting?”

“Yeah. He’s asleep in the bedroom.” Michael headed for the bedroom, and I called after him, “Try not to wake him.”

Michael didn’t and returned shortly after. “He’s a really cute baby.” The last thing I wanted was a repeat of earlier, but Michael continued, “Is his father cute?”

Jamie responded. “His father’s Beau. He’s not cute he’s gorgeous.”

I handed Michael his coffee and Jamie his wine. I also poured myself a wine.

We started discussing how awesome we thought our visit to Melbourne had been when Beau walked in through the unlocked front door. For a moment he stopped and looked around as if he had walked into the wrong townhouse. He focused thoughtfully on Jamie.

“I know you. You’re Andre’s high school friend, Jamie.” Jamie nodded.

Beau wrapped his arms around Jamie and pulled him into one of his now, signature hugs. “It’s been a while but great to see you. Are you still friends with Andre? Stupid question. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.”

The stunned look on Jamie’s face when he was hugged was priceless, but he recovered enough to wrap his arms around Beau in an equally strong warm hug.

“Jamie, I think you can let Beau go now.” Michael was smiling but maybe the hug had gone on long enough.

Still holding Jamie, Beau focused on Michael. “I don’t think I’ve meet you.”

I assumed my role as host. “Beau, this is Michael. He’s Jamie’s husband and my closest and best friend from Melbourne.

Beau moved and wrapped his arms around Michael. “Any friend of Chris’ is a friend of mine.” Michael reciprocated the hug for a few moments longer than Jamie considered appropriate.

Beau was hugging me when the front door opened again, and Andre walked in and paused as he looked around and voiced a jovial, “Will you stop molesting my boyfriend.”

Before Beau could respond I replied. “It was my turn. He’s already molested Jamie and Michael.”

Beau and Andre hugged. “So, your hugging has extended to hugging gay guys?”

“Why not?” He looked around the room. “You guys give awesome hugs.”

I looked at Jamie and I could see him wondering how he could get another hug from Beau. Andre and I kissed.

Beau was still in his usual playful mood. “Eww. Get a room! No! I take that back. Wait until later because I’m here to pick up Junior. How was he?”

A good question. Surely a white lie would please the doting dad and deflect from my poor babysitting skills. “No problem at all.”

“Bullshit! I had him yesterday. He was a little bugger. He’s really missing Skye not being with him all the time.”

All eyes were on me, so I sort of came clean. “There were some problems, but I had some help. My new assistant Tyron dropped in and was terrific with him. Lots of experience with his sisters’ babies. If you ever want a babysitter, I’d recommend him.”

I noticed Jamie give Andre his “I want more information” look which Andre returned with his “I’ll tell you and it’s not a problem” look. I was getting so much better at reading them. I glanced at Michael who was also learning to read them.

Just then a cry from the bedroom signaled that William was awake. I went and returned with William still in his baby capsule. I put it on the coffee table. “He probably needs a nappy change. I’ll bring out all the stuff.”

I was going to show I could at least manage changing a nappy, but Beau took over. William focused on his dad and his cry turned to happy gurgles. While Beau was doing the nappy change Michael did that doctor thing where they look as if they’re just distracting the baby and playing while actually assessing stuff, like the baby’s reactions and grip reflex.

“How old is he?”

“Four months.”

“He’s developing well. You’ve got a healthy son.”

I answered Beau’s questioning look. “Michael’s a doctor. He’s based at the hospital.”

“Well surgeon, but I still see my share of baby patients.” He glanced at Jamie. “As Jamie said earlier, he’s gorgeous.”

It wasn’t clear if Michael was talking about William or Beau. It didn’t matter as Beau beamed.

Beau put William back in the baby capsule and looked around. “Well, I suppose I better get William home before Skye starts to worry.”

I stopped him. “You can’t take William in your Ute. You don’t have a back seat. It’s not only dangerous but illegal to have the baby capsule in the front.”

Andre answered instead of Beau. “So that shiny new blue double cab HiLux Ute out the front is yours?”

“Sure is. Dad bought it for me, and I picked it up this morning.” Then laughing softly, “He only did it because it means I can take William down to mum and pick him up on the days she’s looking after him, like starting tomorrow.” We all understood Lachlan’s motive. Carol would not have to make the drive to pick up and return William.

Andre picked up William in the baby capsule and I grabbed the accompanying bag of baby essentials. Beau was about to give Michael a goodbye hug when he turned to me. “You said Michael is your bestie from Melbourne” I nodded agreement. “But he lives here now. Are we still BFFs?”

Another good question and one I hadn’t even thought about. However, I had an easy answer. “You’re right. Michael’s my gay bestie and you’re still my straight bestie. In fact, the only straight bestie I’ve got.”

Beau was happy with that and hugged Michael goodbye and then Jamie. Jamie made sure his was an extended hug.

As we headed for the door Beau asked, “So showering with your straight bestie is still cool?”

Jamie nearly chocked.

All my smiling face could respond was, “Sure. It’s still cool.”

After helping load William and his stuff into the new Ute we were again with Michael and a still slightly stunned Jamie.

“Fucking hell, what’s going on? When did Beau start to feel so comfortable with gay guys that he can give such awesome hugs? And how come he remembers me? At school I thought he didn’t even know I even existed. I might have had a crush on him in high school but now it’s a mega crush.”

Michael was enjoying this and chuckling. “That’s OK babe, as long as it only remains a crush.”

“What about showering with him?”

Michael paused. “Possibly, as long as I’m in the shower as well.”

We all burst out laughing.

I had not organized anything to cook so I suggested some more wine and ordering in pizzas from Crust. Everyone agreed.

The pizzas arrived and we were enjoying them and reminiscing on how much fun visiting Melbourne had been.

“Chris,” Andre asked, “A recurring comment in Melbourne was that you lost touch with everyone. You live computers. You’re on a computer for most of every day. How do you lose contact with everyone?”

Michael added. “I’ve been thinking the same thing, Chris. What happened?”

This was a minefield where I had to tread very carefully. I tried to deflect by joking. “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.”

No response. That didn’t work. Maybe if I tell a bit, we’ll all be OK.

“OK I’ll tell you something, but it can’t go beyond this room.” Now, that got their attention.

“While I was in the states I was ‘recruited’ into a secret military project. For the first eight months we, the team, were virtually in a bunker, basically locked up and couldn’t use social media to contact anyone. By the time we were allowed to use personal emails I’d dropped out of contact. Even then our emails were monitored to ensure we weren’t telling anyone about the project. Anyway at that time we were still extremely busy tidying up the project, testing and launching it, so we were all short of time to start re-establishing contacts.”

“That sounds ‘top secret’ rather than just secret. What was it like?”

I smiled remembering how challenging, exciting and important the project had been, and all that I couldn’t disclose. “You’ll have to be content with, cutting edge, groundbreaking, exciting, personally rewarding and working with that team I learnt so much more than I’d ever dreamed I learn. But it wasn’t all that good for my career when I came back.”

“Why? It sounds just like the experience companies would want.”

“Yeah, you’d think so but in all it’s about fourteen months of my life I couldn’t, well still can’t, tell anyone what I was working on. Oh, they gave me a reference from a dummy company to cover the time but it couldn’t explain the nature or significance of the work I’d been doing and I didn’t have any evidence of what I’d been working on. After I got back to Melbourne and failed to even get interviewed for a couple of jobs I was well qualified and experienced for, I decided to go freelance. You know the rest."

I paused to make sure they would understand, "I’m serious about not even what I’ve told you leaving this room. I’m still subject to legislation in the States and Australia that prevents me even mentioning the work I did. I’m not alone. It happened to the rest of the team as well. It’s one of the problems that comes with working on secret projects. Remember Alan Turing? Ironically he’s one of my idols in both mathematics and computing. And he was gay.”

Michael stood up and pulled me out of my chair and into a hug. “Thanks for sharing that much. Be assured it stays with us. Personally, I’m relieved to know that dropping contact wasn’t because you didn’t care about me.”

Andre added, “And I’m glad you couldn’t get a job in Melbourne and ended up here with me. And with us.”

By then we were all in a joint hug.

Before it got more emotional than it was, Andre stepped out of the hug and changed to subject. “There’s an apple pie in the fridge. How about another wine while it heats up in the oven.”

Everyone agreed. We still had plenty in common to talk about. Michael’s news was that his Director of Surgery was totally supportive of him assisting with Mamma’s operation. He didn’t even have to take leave as long as he did a formal CPD presentation about the operation to the other surgeons when he got back. He had let Sandra know so all he had to do now was wait to be told the date of the operation.

I looked at Jamie who read my expression. “I’m so booked up and busy with my patients I can’t take the time off. Michael will be going by himself. I’ll be staying here.”

“And I’ll be staying with my parents in Melbourne.”

Michael moved to the other current topic. “When are you two going to start looking for another place.”

Andre answered for both of us. “We’ve checked a few things online but tomorrow we’ll start looking at what the Real Estate Agents have on their books.”

As usually happened, time flew when the four of us were together, so in what felt to be too soon, it was time for Michael and Jamie to leave and head home.

In bed we snuggled naked together, kissing and running our hands all over each other. “How was looking after William? Not as easy as you assumed?” He was enjoying this, but I was also amused.

“You’re not wrong, but I did have some help and I’m sure I’ll get better.”

“That sounds like you want to keep doing this.”

“Yeah I do. Look, I promised Skye that I would and it’s conceivable that we might want to have a child in the future.”

“I like the idea even though it won’t be us doing the conceiving.”

I grinned. “I’d like us to try. I’m ready to take you.” Sex can be fun!

Andre was poised ready to enter me. “Do you want protection?”

I Laughed, “Nah, I think I’ll take the risk.”

“Me too.”

Copyright © 2023 Paladin; 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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Paladin

Posted (edited)

43 minutes ago, Cane23 said:

So, they need larger bathroom, or the guys will have to take a queue for showering with Beau! 😂

Thanks @Cane23. Chris and Andre are looking for a bigger place to live so I suppose that will have to include a bigger bathroom or at least shower. Maybe Michael and Jamie have a pool.

As you can see Jamie's crush on Beau hasn't diminished since high school.

"One correction at the end, not a funny chapter, a cute one!" Yes, cane23, cute was used a lot in this chapter :)

Edited by Paladin
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Thanks @CincyKris for rescuing Skye. I like the description that raising children is like making pancakes. The first is a mess, the second is good and by the third it's, ah whatever :)

Friend's communicating less when in different countries isn't unusual, especially given significant time differences, so stopping usually isn't sudden. Chris' parents are nice and friendly and somewhat self absorbed. Michael's parents' moved to another part of Melbourne while the boys were in Uni, so the parents no longer lived near each other. Michael came to assume that Chris dropped contact because he no longer cared about him. When Chris returned to Melbourne, Michael was no longer there and he quickly became involved with Xavier. Because the joint family reunion was at Michael's parents home we can assume they organized it. Did I miss anything?

I'm thrilled that you are enjoying the story so much. Thank you.

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Ok, I'm satisfied by the explanation.  Skye reminds me of a TV commercial shown here in America.  The first-time mom makes everyone, including grandmas, use hand sanitizer before touching the baby.  Next scene is at a mechanics shop, the first kid is holding her hand, the second is in a stroller, the third is in her arms.  When her phone rings she foists the baby into the grimy, greasy hands of the mechanic and says hold this.  No clue what they were selling, but I guarantee the writer was a parent!  

I forgot to mention Tyron and Jackson, AKA his number one fan.  I think bringing a teen/young adult perspective is a great idea for his YouTube channel, since that is a huge target audience.  Does he make money from this?

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2 hours ago, CincyKris said:

I forgot to mention Tyron and Jackson, AKA his number one fan.  I think bringing a teen/young adult perspective is a great idea for his YouTube channel, since that is a huge target audience.  Does he make money from this?

What a great thought. Chris doesn't make much money from his YouTube channel because he doesn't accept sponsorship. We'll have to see what Tyron and Jackson (in Melbourne) think about it.

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Yes, little Willie performed admirably. Did everything he was expected to - and a bit extra. 🙂

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23 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Well, it looks like the baby William survived day one with Chris!

More is to the point @drsawzall, it looks like Chris' survived one day with baby William. Grumpy me, whom Skye pissed off with her neurotic behaviour, would have handed him back at the first scream. As for changing nappies of any kind, but especially the "brown kind", I never have and I never will. I have cleaned up after kittens with upset tummies on many occasions and that is not a pretty sight, but baby shit is in a class of its own for grossness. And I would be using hand sanitiser after touching the baby.

Edited by Summerabbacat
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Paladin

Posted (edited)

Fortunately for Skye @Summerabbacat you live too far away to have anything to do with young William. :)  Thanks for noticing that Chris barely survived his first day of baby sitting, even if it was because William was missing having Skye with him all the time. Love reading your entertaining comments.

Edited by Paladin
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On 3/6/2024 at 11:16 PM, Ivor Slipper said:

Yes, little Willie performed admirably. Did everything he was expected to - and a bit extra. 🙂

Yes @Ivor Slipper he did perform the way a baby could be expected to behave, including the vomit. All entertaining enough when you're on the outside looking in. I liked that even doting dad Beau was prepared to admit that looking after little Willie was a handful.

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