Nothing Ever Happens - Completing the Family
In the den, Nathan and Aaron were chatting about schools. Nice, normal, Andrew thought viciously. See, queers can be normal too.
He sat on the leather sofa next to Nathan, stretching out his legs and taking a long chug of the coffee.
Aaron’s eyes narrowed. He got the message. “I know why I’m here.”
“You’re here because Amy… Nancy’s here,” Nathan said mildly.
“She’s told you I don’t approve of your lifestyle.”
Andrew had to restrain himself not to roll his eyes at the clichéd response. “Something like that,” he agreed.
“Can we agree to get past the abomination stage?” Nathan asked. “Otherwise it’s going to get ugly pretty quickly.”
Aaron stared down into his beer bottle. Andrew studied him while he got the chance. The man was handsome, light brown hair cut short, deep blue eyes, solid broad shoulders; Andrew got the feeling he was dependable.
“Nancy told me that your mom….” Aaron paused for a long time, and Andrew wondered what words he was trying to find. “tried to help you with your… condition.”
Before Andrew could respond, Nathan went up in flames. “You’re fucking joking, right?” He sat up straight so quickly, Andrew had to hang onto his coffee so he didn’t get scalding hot liquid spilt over him. “Did she really tell you that, or did she say that Ruth beat the living crap outta Andrew once she found out he was gay.”
Aaron was white. Andrew couldn’t find any sympathy for the man. “She mentioned corporal punishment.”
“Did she tell you that Andrew has scars over his buttocks from the belt the pastor used? Did she tell you how Ruth manipulated his life and Stephanie’s for over a decade? Did she tell you that?
“You disapprove of our lifestyle,” Nathan made it sound dirty, “Did she tell you that we stayed apart for eight years to be fucking conventional and good parents, and it nearly fucking killed us? That Andrew nearly died? I—” His voice broke, and he swallowed noisily seemingly trying to pull himself together. “That we travel around the world to be with my kids because my ex took them to fucking London. Did she tell you that?”
Andrew intervened. “Nancy probably doesn’t know all of that yet.”
Nathan eyed Aaron with dislike. “I know you. I know your type. You think you’re good people, spouting about family and love, and Jesus’ forgiveness, and all the fucking time you’re using your book to deny me and mine the chance to be happy. To live a normal life like everyone else.”
Andrew nearly dropped his mug, shocked by Nathan’s vehemence, his acceptance finally of what he was. Shocked and overawed. At any other time he would have dragged Nathan off to his bedroom and sucked his brains out of his dick for that speech.
To give him credit, Aaron knew how to keep digging that hole. “I know you mean well, but it’s still a deviant lifestyle and I can’t approve of my children seeing you kiss,” and now he made that sound dirty, “or anything.”
“You can leave if you want,” Nathan suggested, “before your children have the chance to realize that gays are normal people, leading boring lives, just like everyone else, and all the garbage you feed their minds, is just that, crap.”
“Nathan,” Andrew interrupted, before it got really nasty. “Aaron realizes he has to be polite. Don’t you, Aaron?” He turned an icy gaze on the man who visibly shrank back. “You can leave or you can stay and learn something other than the bullshit you’re pumped full of every Sunday.”
“I’ll stay for Nancy’s sake but I must ask you not to display any deviant behavior in front of my children.”
Andrew’s eyebrow shot up. “Like?”
“Kissing or holding hands. You’re always touching each other.”
“Don’t you touch and kiss Nancy?”
“We’re a married couple.”
“So are we,” Nathan pointed out.
“Not in the eyes of the Lord.”
Nathan seemed on the verge of another explosion, them he slumped back against the sofa. “I thought you were a good man, Aaron. Such a fucking shame my sister picked a bigoted asshole.” He got up and left the room.
Andrew nodded and looked at Aaron. “Yeah, what he said. Go home, Aaron.”
He followed Nathan out of the room, ignoring Aaron. “Nathan, wait up.”
Nathan paused and Andrew caught him by the arm and led him up the stairs.
“Where are we going?” Nathan asked.
“We need to calm down and I have just the idea.”
“Are fine.” Andrew was relieved when Nathan followed without protest. He pushed Nathan into their bedroom and shut the door behind them.
“The shit’s going to hit the fan now,” Nathan mumbled as he sunk his head on Andrew’s shoulder.
Andrew stroked Nathan’s hair, and held him close. “Yeah, it is. But this is our house, and the Lake House is a safe place. That’s what it was always for, and the family know it.”
The Lake House had originally been Andrew’s late husband’s property, and before that, Rich’s first partner’s house. It had been passed through the hands of gay guys as a safe haven in an uncertain world, and he wasn’t going to have it destroyed now.
“Mom’ll kill me if they leave.”
Andrew huffed. “They won’t.”
Nathan kept his face tucked in the crook of Andrew’s neck. “How long do you think we’ve got?”
“Ten minutes at the most.”
Andrew raised Nathan’s chin, cursing himself as he saw the anguish on his face. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. Sorry for not telling you I’d found your sister. Sorry that her husband’s a homophobic bigot. Sorry I can’t take all of your pain away.
Nathan nodded as if he could hear the internal monologue running through Andrew’s mind. “Just kiss me.”
Threading his fingers through Nathan’s hair, Andrew tugged on his head and pulled him in for a kiss. With the first touch of their lips, Andrew could feel the desperation in Nathan, the need and desire for someone to make this right.
He ran his tongue along Nathan’s bottom lip, tasting the residual hot chocolate. Nathan parted his lips, his tongue touching Andrew’s. He shuddered under Andrew’s hands.
Andrew pulled back. “I’ve got you, I won’t let go.”
“Why would you think I would ever let you out of my sight after all we’ve been through?”
Nathan chewed on his bottom lip. “What if they try to make me choose between you and Amy?”
“They?” Andrew frowned. “Your parents?”
Nathan nodded. “They’ve just found her. They’re not going to want to lose her again.” His fingers were tightly curled in Andrew’s sweater.
Andrew laid his hands over Nathan’s. “Take a deep breath, Nate. Nothing’s happened.”
“Yet,” Nathan corrected. “Nothing’s happened yet.”
Andrew sighed. “This distraction technique isn’t working, is it?”
“We could try again.”
Andrew leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “Later. Come on, let’s deal with him and I’ll fuck it out of your brain tonight.”
“Promise?” Nathan sounded like a little boy.
Andrew opened the bedroom door and walked down the stairs, his fingers firmly entangled in Nathan’s. He wasn’t going to let go of his lover and he wasn’t going to let anyone destroy what he and Nathan had forged out of years of misery.
Nathan stopped at the base of the stairs and looked at their entwined hands. “I wouldn’t give this away, not for anything.”
“Not even for your family?” Andrew’s insecurities rose to the surface.
“You are my family.”
Andrew gave him a smile. “I can live with that.”
Whatever Nathan was about to say was lost as the kitchen door opened and Tessa ran out, closely followed by Nate and Aaron.
“Give it back. Give it back. It’s mine,” Nate shrieked, sounding more like a four year old.
Tessa charged around the hall. “Finders keepers.”
Andrew squinted at what she was holding in her hand.
“Make her stop, Dad. She’s got my PS3.”
Aaron reached out to haul Tessa into his arms. “What are you doing, young lady?”
She giggled and tried to wriggle free, but Aaron held on tight. “He lost it so it’s mine. Finders keepers, losers weepers. And he cried like a girl.”
Andrew bit the inside of his cheeks to stop from laughing at Nate’s outraged face.
“I am not a girl. I’m a boy.”
“You cry like a girl,” she taunted.
Aaron frowned. “Where did you get this from, Nate? You don’t own a PS3.”
“Dan said I could borrow it while I’m here and she stole it.”
Aaron sighed. “Give it to me.” He held out his hand until Tessa very reluctantly handed over the PS3. Her father looked at it for a moment, then he gave it back to Nate, who crowed as Jessie shrieked in outrage.
“Na na na na na!” Nate waved the console around.
“Nate,” Aaron warned, “this isn’t yours so be careful.”
“She stole it, now you punish her. Spank her bottom.” Nate poked his tongue out at his sister.
“Enough!” Aaron boomed. “Nate, go wherever you were and play. Tessa, you’re coming with me to find Gramma.”
“Is she going to spank my bottom?” Tessa asked fearfully.
“Not if you behave. But I don’t want to ever see you doing that again. You don’t steal Nate’s things.”
She pouted but didn’t say any more, allowing Aaron to lead her into the kitchen.
Andrew and Nathan followed hard on Aaron’s heels, not surprised when everyone stopped talking. Nancy looked at if she had been crying, and Nathan’s mom and dad looked equally upset.
Nathan tangled his fingers with Andrew’s.
“I’ve told Nancy you don’t want us here anymore,” Aaron said belligerently.
“I don’t want you here upsetting us with your bigotry,” Andrew said. “I said nothing about your wife and children.”
“Oh, Andrew.” Teresa made a sobbing noise. “We’ve just got our little girl back.”
Andrew wasn’t going to be made to feel the bad guy, not here. “This is our home, Teresa, and you know what the Lake House means to us. I’m not letting anyone ruin it.”
“What does it mean?” Nancy asked.
“The Lake House has been owned by gay men for decades.” Andrew saw the disgust on Aaron’s face. “It’s been a place of sanctuary against the bigotry of the outside world. It was owned by my late husband, and his partner before that. It has always been a place where we could feel safe, and I’m not letting anyone change that. Yes, it’s a family home but it’s our place first, Nathan’s and mine.”
Nancy nodded. He’d given her part of that speech outside. “I understand.” She looked at Aaron. “I know your feelings on homosexuality, and I also know the only reason you came here was to support me. I’m all right, darling. If you can’t stay here then you go home and I’ll join you in a couple of days.”
“Nancy!” Aaron looked betrayed.
“You know I’ve never agreed with you on this subject, Aaron. I keep quiet because I respect you as my husband, but Nathan is my brother, and whether he’s straight or gay, I am not ignoring him, or leaving his house.”
“I can’t leave you here,” he said.
“Yes, you can.” She sounded so clear and positive, Andrew wanted to cheer.
“I’ll take the children.”
“No, you won’t. They need to get to know their family.”
To Andrew’s surprise, Nathan’s father, who rarely interfered in family affairs spoke up. “Aaron, I think I can speak for all us when I say thank you for bringing our little girl here.”
Everyone stared at him in surprise.
“She’s my wife. I’m always by her side,” Aaron said gruffly.
“Then stay by her side and learn about the family,” John said. “Go home and pray all you want but first take the time to learn about people before you judge them. Nathan and Andrew are two of the finest men you’ll ever meet, and I know you like their kids because you spent last evening tell me that.”
Aaron looked like someone had just shoved a red hot poker up his ass, Andrew thought viciously.
“I can’t approve of their lifestyle.”
“Then don’t approve, just keep your mouth shut,” Teresa snapped.
“Mom!” Nancy protested and Aaron’s jaw dropped.
“Nathan and Andrew deserve your respect if nothing else. This is their house and we respect their wishes, and if you have any sense, Aaron, you’ll get to know your brothers-in-law for the fine men they are.”
“Thanks, Mom.” Nathan let go of Andrew’s hand for first time and walked over to hug his mom and shake his dad’s hand.
John pulled him into a half-hug, slapping his back. “You’re a good man, son.”
Nathan turned to Aaron, saying, “I’m sorry we told you to leave. It wasn’t right. You have the right to your views even if we think they’re wrong.” He held out his hand.
There was a long pause, and then Aaron shook his hand. “I’m… gonna try.”
Nancy grinned in relief and hugged him close. “I love you, Aaron.”
His cheeks went bright red. “Nancy, we’re in public.”
“We’re with family,” she corrected. “I love them too.”
Part VII tomorrow