Thank you for stopping by my small part of RJ Scott’s Christmas Story Blog Tour and welcome!!
I hope you enjoy this short visit with Trent and Gage the main characters from my most recent release Last First Kiss. Thank you for stopping by for a little while.
Love and peace to you all. Everyone who makes a comment will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of my next book. Merry Christmas!
In-laws. Why doesn’t anyone warn gay men that we get them regardless of the status of ‘I do’s.” It’s not a deal breaker or anything but dang.
Trent’s folks are mostly okay. We’ve visited them a few times. The gay thing doesn’t seem to bother them. Heck, Trent’s mom is so happy to have grandkids she’d forgive him if he’d killed someone to get them. His dad is happy if she’s happy. So they Skype with the boys and send too many presents. They talk to Trent from time to time and pretty much ignore me. I’m not that upset about that development, let me tell you.
As awkward as stuff can get with his side of the family it gets worse. Cause there’s my folks. We made a couple unsuccessful overtures our first holidays together, after being rebuffed both times we decided to steer clear of them. I explained to the guys as well as I could that my parents don’t approve of Trent and I being together. I tried not to make them sound like horrible people (even though they are pretty awful), but I could tell that the boys had reached understanding level zero by the end of the conversation. I figured I was in for the long haul of explanations but surprisingly Nash let it drop. I was more than happy for the chance to just ignore the entire mess.
I’ll give you some free advice. If you have a kid that normally latches onto anything he doesn’t understand and nags until he is satisfied he’s got it, and that kid suddenly just lets something go? Do not believe it. It means he’s doing all of his
conniving…thinking I mean…inside his head. And that special kind of crazy that all kids suffer from? Gets so much worse when it’s internalized.
Trent stretched out on the couch in the living room of the house he shared with Gage Harris, his partner of four years, and his two sons Nash and Kody. He propped a foot on Gage’s lap and let the other rest on the floor. He nudged the magazine in Gage’s hand enough to catch a glimpse of the cover and gave a snort of amusement to see it was a seed catalog.
“Shut up.” Gage shoved at his foot without any real annoyance.
“It’s winter, Dude, take a break already.” Trent yawned but instead of closing his eyes he turned to watch the boys laying on the faded rug that covered the battered hard wood floor. Nash was coloring a picture his second grade teacher had sent home with him and Kody was playing with a set of Legos. From what Trent could see he was building a square polar bear.
“Winter is when I plan for next season. I have to order the seeds before it’s time to plant them.” He sounded a little bored and Trent didn’t blame him. He kind of made it a habit to pretend he still didn’t know jack about farming in an effort to get a rise out of Gage, but the young farmer had been on to him for a while.
“Can’t you just change the date on last year’s order?” Trent poked him in the side with his sock covered toe.
Gage gave him a cool look from under a raised brow. “Is that how you run the office? Oh just order the same thing we did last year.”
Trent hid a smile and shrugged. “Sure. A bandage is a bandage right?”
Gage pinched his calf and mouthed “Jackass” at him in slow motion so Trent easily lip read the message. He chuckled and let Gage go back to his catalog and the wonders of okra over tomatoes or whatever the dilemma of the day happened to be. For himself he was happy to be done at the office for the weekend and had no plans to think about it once.
Friday evening stretched out ahead of them long and lazy. Saturday morning would be an early one despite the current lack of crops. They had the new calf and piglet to take care of and a pancake breakfast to enjoy before tree hunting.
Gage had mentioned bringing his gun along the next day in case they spotted the wild turkeys his uncle had mentioned taking up residence on his property. Trent intended to make enough noise they never saw a turkey, and he’d bet next week’s pay it wouldn’t be hard to find allies in Nash and Kody wittingly or not. He balked at the idea of pulling the feathers off his Christmas dinner. Let the birds keep their finery. The freezer was filled to the brim with last year’s Bossy and Piggie. Trent felt a twinge of guilt and wondered if he’d ever get used to eating animals he’d had a personal hand in raising.
“I want prime rib for Christmas dinner.” He declared turning his attention back to Gage, who shrugged as he turned the page of his catalog.
“Okay.” His free hand wrapped around Trent’s ankle, and his fingers brushed the bare skin at the top of his sock. The skin on skin touch hidden under the hem of Trent’s jeans. The casual caress sparked against Trent’s leg and he pushed into Gage’s grip. His self-satisfied smirk made Trent frown. After four years he was still ridiculously aroused by the simplest touch. Even the most innocent brush of rough fingers had Trent ready to strip for more. The tenderness that softened Gage’s smile and the fact he didn’t stop tracing patterns on Trent’s leg eased his faint rush of embarrassment. He had no doubt where Gage’s thoughts had gone as soon as he instigated the touch. They were equally fools for one another.
Trent glanced and caught Nash studying them his face thoughtful. His radar picked up on any sudden silence recently. Once they’d been able to slip away easily for super-special-grown-ups-in-love hugs. As the boys got older things got trickier. If they tried to duck out for a few minutes before the kids were in bed, Gage’s curious gaze followed them on their return.. Trent was not looking forward to the day when that look evolved into the I-know-what-you-were-doing-and-ew smirk.
“What do you guys think?” Trent asked the boys. He ignored the huff of laughter from Gage that had certainly been caused by his attempt to distract the curious eight-year-old.
“It’s okay with me as long as I get a bone.” Nash agreed. He’d decided a few months before that meat with bones was superior to the boneless variety.
Kody rubbed his nose with the back of his hand and set the polar bear, square shoulders and all, aside and began digging out black bricks while adding to his pile of white. “Roasts don’t have drumsticks.”
“Steak bones are as good and Buddy can fix mushrooms.” Nash used his blue crayon to draw a bird in the sky of his picture.
“Mushrooms.” Kody sounded satisfied. He pulled some orange blocks from the bucket. “Okay.”
“Guess you won’t need a gun to hunt our tree tomorrow.” Trent nudged Gage’s thigh with his heel high enough up to feel the swell of his erection against the side of his foot. Want tugged low in his belly and he dropped his head onto the arm of the sofa and grimaced at the ceiling. Gage’s fingers edged higher up his pant leg and Trent wondered if thinking about cleaning Piggy’s pen would be enough to keep his boner from completely tenting his jeans. He glowered at Gage for causing his dilemma, but he didn’t pull his leg away.
“So it’s just us this year.” Trent plugged in the cord for the outside lights and grinned at the squeals from outside where Nash and Kody had run to watch them come on. They’d done the same thing every night for the past three weeks.
Gage peeked out the window at the hyper excited kids and shook his head. “Sort of.” He chuckled at the antics of the boys as they rushed back inside hooting and stomping their feet.
“It’s cold.” Nash informed them and stuck his hand up Trent’s shirt.
“Whoa! Hey!!” He protested and back pedaled trying to get away from the cold press of the small hand against his stomach. He grabbed Nash’s hand and pulled it away just as two blocks of ice in the shape of four-year-old hands came to rest on his lower back under the hem of his tee-shirt. He jerked away with a startled yelp. “God…” his gaze caught Gage’s expression and he swallowed the curse. “Dang it. You guys!”
“He’s right you should stop.” Gage’s tone sounded deadly serious and Trent turned towards him in surprise. The boy’s hands dropped away. Unsure about what was wrong Trent caught the spark of mischief in Gage’s expression a second too late. “Because it’s Tickle Time!” The boys’ squeals would have put an entire class of twelve-year-old girls to shame and Trent turned to run. He didn’t make it. Gage took him to the floor in a controlled tackle that spoke volumes about the strength he harbored in his ridiculous muscles. He obviously harbored no qualms about using both against Trent as he held him down for the poking tickling fingers of their sons.
Since the beginning of their relationship Gage had used tickle time as an excuse to cop a and as much as Trent appreciated the way his hands lingered over his most sensitive he wasn’t sure the brief caresses were worth getting tickled to death.
“Three against one! No fair!” he gasped. “I think it’s Daddy’s turn!”
Gage let them take him to the floor. Trent had no delusions about Gage unable to resist their efforts to take over. He straddled Gage’s hips and watched his face flush with laughter. Blond hair stuck up in every direction and his head tilted back, baring the long line of his neck. The sight convinced Trent that Tickle Time was totally worth the torture. He leaned in to steal a kiss, affection warmed his chest when Gage’s fingers tangled in his hair.
“Ew. That is not tickling!” Nash complained.
“That’s kissing!” Kody crowed and made Nash laugh.
“Daddy and Buddy sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Nash sang through his giggles.
“They aren’t in a tree!” Kody protested.
“First come love!”
Trent grabbed for him but Nash skipped out of reach laughing so hard he could barely sing. “Then comes marriage and then comes Daddy pushing a baby carriage!” Trent scrambled for him across the slick hardwood floor but he managed to stay out of reach. Gage was no help curled up and choking on his laughter, ears flaming red.
“Baby Carriage?!!?” Kody’s squeal stopped them all in their tracks. “Is Daddy going to have a baby?”
And then Trent was laughing so hard it sounded more like a howl.
“What?” Gage sat up. His expression panicked. Trent gasped for breath at the sight of it. “What? No. Of course not, no babies.”
“Daddy and Buddy can’t have a baby because they’re both…” Nash’s explanation was cut off when Gage scooped him up around the middle.
“Because we’re both not ready for another baby.” Gage tucked Nash under his other arm and faced Trent. “It think it’s bedtime, or Santa won’t come, right Buddy?”
Trent nodded but his gaze was fixed on the knowing waggle of Nash’s eyebrows. His worst nightmare come true. The kid had figured it out. Maybe he’d finally made the boy cow plus girl cow connection. Or it could have been Johnny or Suzy from school who’d filled him in. God, he’d told Gage they should homeschool.
He watched Nash warily as he got to his feet. “The lights are on, the cookies are out and there is hay on the roof for reindeer. Sounds like bedtime to me.”
“Story and hot chocolate?” Nash gave Trent a beguiling smile decorated with his best dimples.
“Sure, if Dad says it’s okay.” Trent raised a brow in question at Gage. He set the boys on their feet.
“Go get your pajamas on while we make the hot chocolate.”
The boys disappeared down the hall and Trent followed Gage into the kitchen to help with the hot chocolate. No Swiss Miss for his man. They’d have to heat the milk…Trent lost complete track of his line of thought when Gage backed him up against the wall. His hands cupped Trent’s face and his thumbs traced his cheekbones. His eyes dilated when he rocked his hips against Trent. “I’d fill you up with a baby if I could.” He whispered against Trent’s mouth.
Not what he’d expected to hear. He waited for the punch line but it didn’t come. Gage sucked on his bottom lip and one hand moved down to grip his hip and pull him in closer his breathing ragged. Trent’s own sense of humor was oddly absent and instead of laughing Gage’s words made Trent want to climb him like a tree, wrap his legs around his trim waist, and get fucked hard against the wall. It’d been a while since they’d done that and he loved when Gage pounded into him like he meant to leave behind a permanent impression of his body on Trent’s.
Trent’s fingers dug into the back of Gage’s shoulders as he opened his mouth in eager surrender to the invasion of Gage’s tongue, the slip slide of it in his mouth tangled with his own brought every nerve ending in his body awake. He knew they were getting carried away, but Trent couldn’t make himself care. He didn’t even give a damn why found it so hot thinking about Gage wanting to make him pregnant. The whole thing was outrageous, but it’d damn sure got him going.
The bathroom door slammed and startled them back into some sense of reason. Gage stepped away but his hand still held Trent by the hip and he hadn’t let go of Gage’s shirt where he’d fisted his hand in it.
“Do you really think about that when you fuck me?” His lips swollen with Gage’s kisses Trent watched him from under heavy lids unsure what he wanted to hear.
“Not during really.” He grinned flashing the dimples that turned Trent’s knees to jello. “But sometimes I do think about what it’d be like, having a baby around with your eyes and smile.” Gage sounded wistful and he reached over to thumb the corner of Trent’s mouth. “It was the one good thing about being with her. Everything is perfect with you…but…I don’t know. It doesn’t seem fair.” Gage ducked his head and gave an embarrassed laugh.
“Dude, if you want another baby you should have said something. There are plenty of options.” Trent’s heart felt like it was about to pound out of his chest. He hadn’t really thought about having another baby but now that it was out there it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. A sister for Nash and Kody, they’d be the most awesome big brothers ever. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Trent tugged Gage closer and used two fingers under his chin to tilt his head so their gazes met. They were nearly the same height, something Trent sometimes forgot. Gage’s bulk made him feel small. “Right now we’ve probably got about two and a half minutes so talk to me quick.”
“I didn’t think it was something you were ready for and I don’t want to rush you.” A dimple dented Gage’s cheek and Trent shook his head. With his weakness for dimples he’d joined the wrong family.
“Consider me officially not rushed. We’re going to sit down and talk about this.” Trent let Gage go and gave him a little shove in the direction of the fridge. “Weirdest way ever to broach a subject, by the way.” He couldn’t help tease and regretted it immediately when Gage cut him a look over his shoulder eyes gleaming with wicked humor.
“Your reaction to the idea of me trying to impregnate you is also something we are going to talk about…” He promised. “At length.” Trent groaned. His head fell back against the wall with a solid thump and he determinedly ignored the heat that pooled in his belly at the promise of Gage’s words.
“Roast is in the oven. Potatoes in the toaster oven and green beans simmering away.” Gage yawned and stretched. He knuckled the small of his back. “I think we can rest for five minutes.”
Trent watched the play of Gage’s muscles under the soft material of his Christmas sweater and wondered if they could get away with a twenty minute ‘nap’. Before he could suggest it the doorbell rang and startled him out of his lascivious thoughts.
“I’ll get it.” He headed for the door. The boys were in the backyard playing with their new bikes and making enough noise to drown out the arrival of a jetliner. There was a bunch of scrub oak and scraggly pine not far from the house that Gage had mentioned digging up to turn the small patch of ground into a dirt track. Trent thought his man was pretty damn smart. Kids were loud.
The doorbell peeled again. “Hold your horses I’m coming.” He grumbled as he made his way through the crumpled paper and discarded toys that now carpeted their living room. They’d established the tradition of giving the boys until after lunch before they had to bring order to chaos. Since he and Gage spent most of the morning after opening presents in the kitchen working on Christmas dinner it was a plan that served them well.
He edged a new box of Legos out of the way before he opened the door. Trent stared at the woman in the open door as if she were someone he’d never seen before though he’d met her a couple times. He’d never seen her inside Gage’s house in the three years they’d been together.
“Mrs. Harris.” He said the same time he heard Gage’s whisper. “Mom.” They stood staring at one another until Nash burst in the backdoor.
“You came!” His shout held pure delight as he hugged his dad around his waist. “Merry Christmas, Daddy. I asked Grandma to come ‘cause it’s Christmas and that means you can be happy and make friends.”
Gage’s hand came to rest on Nash’s head but he still hadn’t moved. Trent opened the door wider. “Come in.” he invited though the look on Gage’s face made him want to slam the door shut in her face and deadbolt it. She walked through the doorway, her gaze on where she placed her feet clad in sensible brown pumps that probably cost a month of what Gage had made when he worked for his uncle. Trent closed the door behind her unable to lose the feeling she was on the wrong side. He watched as she looked around her expression seemed to judge everything she saw. She was not a tall woman, about five foot five. She looked neat and put together in her beige pant suit, her hair pulled back in a neat bun. Small gold hoops decorated her ear lobes and her only make up was a touch of soft colored lipstick. From the outside she looked exactly like a grandmother should.
Trent took a deep breath. It was Christmas. Nash wanted this and so they’d be polite to one another, get through the awkward and everything would be fine. “Would you like to sit down? I can get you something to drink. We have tea and water.” He was hyper aware of the fact Gage still hadn’t moved or spoken. Used to his friendly, smiling partner Trent found the silence nerve wracking putting him even more on edge. Gage’s mother’s mouth curled down in distaste as she surveyed the well-used furniture. Trent bristled. His hyper-urge to protect Gage and his boys kicked in full force.
“Just because something’s been used doesn’t mean anything is wrong with it. You can sit down the sofa is perfectly clean.” Trent tried to keep the edge off his tone but knew he’d failed when she narrowed her eyes at him. Nash had let go of Gage’s waist and was busily picking up wrapping paper and stuffing it into the box from Gage’s new charcoal grill. The pieces were scattered behind the couch where Gage had started putting it together. They were laid out in a perfect map of what to do next. Trent loved watching Gage put things together.
“Well. It’s not perfectly clean.” Nash was telling his grandmother as he sorted out the bows and tossed them into a large gift back to save for the next year. “Kody used to pee on it sometimes. But daddy cleaned it real good so I think it’s mostly clean.” He shrugged as he gathered the presents into stacks by ownership. “It doesn’t smell anymore.”
Hand to her chest Gage’s mother took a step away from the couch as if she expected to chase after her.
“Why are you here?” Gage demanded the same time Trent asked Nash. “Where’s Kody?”
“He’s hiding in the kitchen. He thinks Nana is a new person. I tried to tell him, but…” he lifted his hands up in the universal sign for ‘what can you do?’
“You left him alone?” Trent felt a surge of relief when Gage’s attention was diverted from his mother.
Nash looked baffled. “He’s not alone. He’s in the kitchen. Our kitchen. We’re all right here.”
“Nash.” Gage’s voice was firm but Nash still looked bewildered.
“Never mind. Finish picking up. I’ll get him.”
Nash watched him leave the room with a puzzled frown. He turned to Trent. “What’s wrong with Daddy?”
Trent searched his mind for something to say but he came up empty. He bit his lip and squatted beside Nash in an effort to reassure him. Before he found the words Nash’s grandmother spoke.
“He doesn’t like me.” Her voice seemed as cold as the wind rattling the branches against the house. Nash’s head jerked up and he stared at her wide-eyed.
“That’s what you’re going with? Really mom?” Gage came back into the room, Kody perched on his hip. Trent knew it’d been months since Kody had let Gage hold him ‘like a baby.’ Nothing about the situation boded anything good.
“I don’t like my mom either.” Nash volunteered the information. “But we’ll be friends one day. Buddy is here and he’s going to love us and stay forever. I can still be friends with my mom, because we can love lots of people.” Nash spoke with confidence as he parroted the things Gage and Trent had told him, but Trent read how nervous he was in the shift of his feet and the curl of his fingers. His dimples were nowhere to be seen.
Trent resisted the urge to go to him. Nash wouldn’t thank him if he made him look like a child. There’d be time for comfort when this had played out however it was going to.
“You and Daddy can be friends. If you want.”
Trent watched as ice blue eyes turned towards Gage. “Is that right? Can we be friends?” She said the right words but her tone was wrong and Trent saw the realization hit Nash. He sucked in his breath.
“oh.” His small voice went unnoticed by his grandmother. Trent’s heart broke for him as Nash edged closer and slid his hand into Trent’s.
“I’m sorry.” He whispered. Trent squeezed his hand.
“It’s okay.” He kept his voice down and his attention fixed on Gage and his mother. He almost missed Nash’s next comment.
“No. I don’t think so.”
“What in the hell does that child have on?” The first real sign of emotion colored her voice. Righteous indignation. “You dress your son in a skirt? My God how sick are you?”
Trent’s temper woke with a vengeance and roared through him with a force that made him see white. He held onto Nash’s hand and too keep him from engaging his grandmother even as he struggled to regain control before he did something he’d regret. Or more accurately, cause trouble he’d regret. He felt more than saw Gage’s worried glance in his direction.
“It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt. He’s got scotch.” Despite his efforts, Nash pulled free of Trent’s grasp and ran to stand between his grandmother and his brother. “Aunt Pearl sewed it for him. It’s a for real kilt. He can take it off and make a blanket. He’s got lots of them cause he likes them. It’s not bad.”
Trent didn’t dare move. His temper hadn’t cooled at all. Gage laid his hand on Nash’s shoulder. “Son.”
Nash shook him off. “NO! I don’t have to be polite. You can’t make me. I won’t let her talk like something’s wrong with Kody. He’s fine just the way he is and he can wear kilts if he wants to.” His hands fisted at his side and he yelled at his grandmother. “He can wear actual skirts if he wants to. Girl skirts. PINK GIRL SKIRTS.”
Gage caught him by the back of the shirt and reeled him back in. “Nash.”
“With ruffles.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared. If the whole situation hadn’t been so terrible Trent might have laughed. Or cheered.
“No girl skirts. I like kilts.” Kody lifted his head out of his father’s neck for the first time and Trent thought he might burst with pride at the way he met his grandmother’s eyes. “Your skirt is ugly. Aunt Pearl can make you a pretty one. You should ask her.” He buried his face in the curve of Gage’s neck and shoulder as if he’d never made an appearance.
Sharp blue eyes studied Gage and his sons before flicking briefly over Trent. He didn’t like the way Gage seemed to shrink under her glare. “I can’t believe Sara got herself involved in this mess. Your boys don’t know boys from girls, right from wrong, or up from down. Someone should call the authorities.”
The fear that filled Gage’s expression was raw and real. It stripped Trent of his hard won control in an instant. “That’s enough.” The hard sound of his voice drew every eye in the room his way and he squared his shoulders. Trent crossed the room to stand at Gage’s side and covered his rough calloused hand where curled protectively around Nash’s shoulder. “Gage take the guys outside. Pet the pig or something.” Gage opened his mouth but Trent shook his head before he had a chance to make a sound. “I’ve got this. You need to talk to Nash. I don’t think this went exactly the way he pictured it.”
Trent ruffled Nash’s hair. “Hang in there big guy. Intentions count.” Gage gave Trent a grateful look and herded Nash towards the back door.
“What does intentions mean?” Trent heard Nash ask just before the door clicked shut behind them.
Silence hung heavy between Trent and his lover’s mother. To his surprise she was the one to break it, much less surprising was her subject.
“Who told that poor deluded child he could be friends with his mother?” She pulled the jacket to her suit tighter at the waist her fingers tight on the edges.
“We told him that. Boys, girls, grown-ups, we all tend to keep loving their mothers even at their worst. What the hell were we supposed to tell him? ‘Forget about her, kid. She’s a selfish no good cu…bi…witch and you’re better off without her. Goddamn, you’re as bad as she is and I still can’t forget you’re Gage’s mother.”
“That’s one thing we have in common because neither can I.” Once again her words seemed to suggest one thing, perhaps regret but her tone said something else entirely. Trent shoved his hands into his jeans pockets to keep from making a fist. If he gave in to that first compulsion he wasn’t sure he’d keep from hitting her.
“No matter how hard you try, huh?” He searched her face hoping for something, anything that would give him some hope for Gage’s relationship with her. A moment of weakness that might suggest the boys would one day have two grandmothers. He saw only dislike and disgust. Trent realized her gaze was fixed on his neck where Gage had bit him earlier. He wondered how she imagined he’d gotten it. He hoped whatever image it conjured up haunted her.
“Exactly.” She lifted her chin but didn’t meet his eyes she gazed over his shoulder into the dining room. He supposed she found it as lacking as she had the living room. “That table is undoubtedly worth something, and that china cabinet. I assume John furnished the place for Gage. he’s always doted on the boy and spoiled him. He’s exactly the sort to ignore the real value of something that should be a prized possession.”
Trent ran a hand over his face and gaped at her. “Lady are you kidding me? You are worried that Gage’s uncle gave him a table to use as a table while you throw the real treasure in this house aside like it’s nothing?” Trent walked to the front door and opened it. The sounds of the kids playing drifted to them on the chilly breeze. The sound warmed his heart despite the cool temperature and grounded him easing the threat of his temper. “You should leave before I forget myself and say things that Gage wouldn’t approve of. I don’t know why in the hell you accepted Nash’s invitation, but don’t ever do it again.”
She stopped in front of him and gave him a tight smile. “I wanted to see for myself what sort of depravity was going on in this house. It’s worse than I imagined. Those poor, poor boys.” Trent’s hand came up almost before he realized what he intended. He stopped at the last second and forced his fist to relax and ended the movement by running his fingers through his hair. Judging by her lack of reaction she had no idea how close she’d come to getting punched in the face.
“Would you just get the hell out of here?” He barely managed to get the words out his jaw was clenched so tight.
“Oh, I’m going. She stopped before stepping onto the first step she didn’t look back as she spoke but stared out over the yard. “You tell him to keep his head down. I remember every detail. The four-year-old boy in skirts. The evidence of sexual excess displayed openly in front of the children. The lack of order or even general housekeeping. I remember and whoever I tell those things to will listen.”
“You bitch.” Trent took a step in her direction and she finaly turned but not with the reaction Trent expected. She tsked him waggling a finger back and forth between them.
“It goes for you too, lover boy. Not so much as a hint of scandal or the person knocking on your door won’t be nearly as kindly as I am. Like I told you, sugar. I’ll remember. It’s for the best if you do too. Merry Christmas.”
Trent watched her slim form walk away. The sandy beige suit perfectly tailored. Her three inch heels totally inappropriate for the farm. The neat bun of hair at the back of her head gleamed under the weak winter sun, without so much as a hair out of place. She climbed into her silver Mercedes and drove out of the yard without ever looking back. Trent had no idea how she’d managed to squeeze a child out of her vagina what was anything more than a mini-me. Gage was more than amazing he was a fucking miracle.
His family met him in the kitchen. Trent didn’t say a word to Gage about his mother’s threat. There wasn’t any reason to spoil Christmas with the repetition of ugly words. He let Gage soothe him with the soft brush of lips, a tender touch on his face, and the familiar pressure of his hand on the small of his back. Trent silently reveled in the security of having a lover who knew him so well.
“Are you okay?” Gage asked. Trent thought he should be the one asking but they’d have plenty of time to talk about what’d happened later. For the moment he just shrugged and took Kody out of Gage’s arms for a quick squeeze.
“Sure. I’m way more worried about our dinner. Pretty sure the roast is cold.” They’d tried a cooking method for the roast that Gage had read online that involved roasting the prime rib at a very high heat for a time and then turning the oven off with the roast inside to sit for two hours. The time limit had come and gone.
“Better cold than burned.” Gage headed over to check on the meat. “I can make hash or something, you’ll see.” Trent smiled fondly at him before he focused on wiggly Kody. Nash had already returned to the living room digging through their Christmas loot. Kody was anxious to join him. When Trent put him down took the opportunity to check that the kilt was over Kody’s shoulder and the pins still fastened correctly.
The plaid was his first authentic kilt that fastened with something besides Velcro. The kilts were Trent’s brain child. Born of necessity when the boy had taken to dressing up in the play clothes at school and refusing to take them off. His young teachers hadn’t been open to the idea of the boy wearing skirts all day, but were beside themselves with delight when he showed up for the first time in a kilt. They thought it was a wonderful way for him to learn to understand and appreciate his heritage. Gage and Trent had just been relieved they didn’t have to fight about skirts any longer.
“I’m not a baby.” Kody pulled away from Trent and he became conscious of the fact he’d been fussing with the boy’s clothes longer than he’d intended. He laughed at Nash’s glower and pushed him towards the other room.
“Don’t worry I know.” His assurances fell on deaf ears as Kody hurried over to where Nash was fiddling with the tablet they’d received as a joint present. Trent watched the two climb onto the couch their new Kindle Fire in hand. “It’s not just books! Sponge Bob is on here.” Nash stage whispered to Kody. “Let me show you.”
“That was without a doubt the best food I’ve ever had.” Trent groaned as he pushed away from the table. His stomach tight and aching with the amount of food he’d indulged in. “You, Gage Harris, are a hash slinging master.”
“I told you.” Gage snagged another roll and smothered it with butter. He took a big bite and Trent had to look away. He was too full to watch anyone eat. Nash and Kody were drooping over their plates and Trent sympathized completely. He wished he were an eight-year-old headed for a nap instead of a grown-up who hadn’t done the cooking and so had cleaning next on his Christmas agenda.
“You should have lent a hand with the cooking.” Gage smirked.
“Ass.” Trent muttered. He folded his arms on the table and snuggled his head into them. “Stop reading my mind and give me five minutes.”
“Lazy.” Gage leaned back in his chair and stretched. His muscles tensed and relaxed under the soft clinging materiel of his sweater. Trent pretended not watch. The sound of a car door interrupted their teasing. They shared an uneasy look.
“You don’t think she came back?” Trent watched the front door uneasily.
Gage made a face. “I seriously doubt it…” Before he could expound on his thought a quiet strangled noise came from Nash’s direction. Trent decided it was a good time to clear the table. He stood up and started collecting plates unsure he could survive whatever had caused Nash’s sudden panic. But he lingered when Gage called Nash to him at the same time a knock sounded on the door. Nash walked to his father dragging his feet with his head down.
“Nash.” Gage prompted him gently but Trent saw the boy’s shoulders tense. “Tell me.”
“So. Maybe. I might have called another grandma.”
“Another…” Gage sounded aghast before Trent could ask for clarification the knock sounded once more.
“Yoo-hoo! Anyone in there?”
Trent stacked some more plates. “That’s not my mother.” He observed as if anyone had thought it would be.
Gage took a deep breath as he got slowly to his feet. “Nope. That’s the other Grandma.”
“It’s Grandma Tamra.” Gage explained. “She was happy I called. I have to let her in.” Gage jumped down from the chair and headed for the door.
Trent felt frozen in place. “That’s…”
“Cara’s mom, yep.” A loud redhead was hugging the boys as Gage got to his feet.
“It’s been four years, why now?”
Gage huffed a laugh and tilted his head toward the other room. “You know why.”
Trent watched as Nash pulled a woman he’d met only a handful of times towards them by the hand..
“Dude.” Trent grabbed Gage’s hand and held onto it as if his life depended on it.
Gage gave him an amused look. “What?”
“Next year I’m so taking over the guest list.”