Zach paced the living room, tension evident in every movement of his lithe surfer’s body. He paused every so often to look out the window, sigh and resume his futile walk. Shaun sighed as he watched his lover. He was as nervous as Zach but refused to let it show. They hadn’t seen Cody in two months and the phone call from Jeanne’s new husband, Matt, had thrown them. They weren’t quite sure what to expect, but there was no way they were going to turn down a chance to find out how Cody was doing.
“He’s late.” Zach was hovering by the window again. Shaun walked over to where Zach had finally seemed to anchor himself and rested a hand on his shoulder. He winced at the tension he felt under his palm.
“Later, after this is over, I am going to take you to the bedroom, strip you down and give you a massage.” Shaun leaned closer and planted a soft kiss on the back of Zach’s neck. He felt, more than heard Zach chuckle softly and smiled. Zach turned to face him, wrapping his arms around Shaun’s neck and hugging him tightly.
“I…” The loud buzz of the intercom startled them both, cutting off whatever Zach had been going to say. Zach went over to buzz Matt in while Shaun looked around the room again, making sure it looked perfect. He sighed inwardly. The had passed the home study with flying colors, not to mention everything else that had been thrown their way in the past two months, but this meeting had him more nervous than all of those put together. He hoped that Matt wasn’t like Jeanne, but he didn’t see how a man who married her could be any different.
Zach hit the buzzer, “Come on up.” His stomach curled and twisted as he waited and suddenly Zach wished he hadn’t eaten breakfast. He glanced at Shaun who seemed so calm and collected despite the situation and wondered how his lover did it. He knew Shaun was as nervous as he was but it didn’t show at all. He took a deep calming breath and went over to open the door just as Matt arrived.
Jeanne’s husband was nothing like he expected. In fact the first time he’d seen the man he had been completely thrown. The guy was tall, blonde, very Midwest looking and extremely clean cut, not to mention well dressed and articulate. Not for the first time he wondered how the hell Jeanne had met this man and what he saw in her.
“Hello, Zach.” Matt offered his hand in greeting. Zach shook it, and stepped aside.
“Come in, please.” Shaun smiled invitingly, “Would you like something to drink?
“Thank you for having me over.” Matt looked around the room as he spoke. He felt awkward, out of place and out of his depth. “A glass of water would be nice.” He followed Shaun to the kitchen, saw the stools at the breakfast bar and sat down. “I know this is awkward, but I…”
Zach watched the other man’s face contort slightly as he struggled for what he wanted to say.
“I don’t know how to say this without being offensive. “ The man’s face was earnest as he spoke this time, “So please don’t take this the wrong way. I’ve never met, or maybe I should say spent any time with someone who was gay. But the way I was raised indicated that it was wrong."
Shaun felt something heavy settle in his stomach when he looked at Zach’s face. He handed Matt the glass of water, watched him take a sip and sat down across from him. He had a feeling this was only going to get worse.
“Is that all you came here to say?” Zach asked quietly. There had been too many phone calls from Jeanne proclaiming how sick and perverted he was for loving Shaun;, he was so tired of it. Matt looked at him curiously.
“No, not at all.” He looked from Zach, to Shaun and sighed again. He hated how hard it was to express himself these days. “I need to understand why Cody says such wonderful things about the two of you, why he misses you so much he cries himself to sleep every night and yet Jeanne…”
“He cries himself to sleep?” Shaun couldn’t stop himself. “Is he alright otherwise? How are his grades, is he any taller?” He felt Zach sit next to him, take his hand and squeeze it.
Matt knew he looked as surprised as he felt, but at the same time he was relieved to know they truly cared about Cody and the whole custody issue wasn’t about possession but actual love.
“Um, yes he cries, quite a bit to tell the truth. His grades have dropped a bit but according to his teachers and the psychologist he sees that is normal for the situation. He draws a lot. Jeanne was taking his pens away but the doctor told her not to anymore. He asks to see and call you both all the time. I hate telling him no, and being the bad guy so soon but…” Matt looked down at his glass than looked up at both of them pleading. “I just needed to meet you both, to understand what it is you have before I…” He looked at his hands again. “Before I tell Jeanne I think he needs to be with the two of you.”
Zach inhaled loudly, his mind suddenly too chaotic to form a coherent thought. “Why? Why would you do that? Why would you even want to?”
“What makes you think she will listen to you?” Shaun closed his eyes, unwilling to give into hope flaring in his gut.
“I love Jeanne. “ Matt smiled. “I love her, all her flaws the ones I know about and even the ones I don’t. It doesn’t make sense but that makes me love her all the more. She…she thinks I want her to be the perfect mother but I don’t. She isn’t ready for Cody and neither am I, not to mention he is miserable. It isn’t good for him, or us. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and someday I hope she and I have them when we are both ready. But right now, neither of us is ready but you two obliviously are and have apparently been doing a great job. ”
“So what do you want than?” Zach was torn between confused and hopeful. “You wanted to meet us, see what we have, what exactly does that mean? Do you want us to justify our relationship to you? Or do you want to hear that we love each other, and we love Cody. That we miss him and there is a hole in our lives where he is supposed to be.” He stood and started to pace the room as he spoke. “Do you want to hear that we almost lost ourselves and each other after Jeanne came for him?” Zach turned back, his face flushed and eyes flashing with anger.
“Zach,” Shaun’s voice was soft, as he moved to pull Zach into a hug. He could feel the anger seeping from Zach’s body as he held him, “It’s alright.”
Matt watched them interact with fascination, he saw the way Zach melted into Shaun’s touch, how all the anger fled the moment they hugged, how much love was there and he wondered if he and Jeanne looked anything like that, or ever would.
“Zach,” Matt waited for Zach to look at him before continuing. “There isn’t anything you need to say, there is nothing you can say that I haven’t just seen.” He shook his head, stood and walked toward the door. “We’ll bring Cody back Friday after school.”
Before Matt had even shut the door Shaun grabbed Zach in a fierce hug that lifted him off his feet while shouting with joy. “He’s coming home!” Zach laughed, even though deep inside, he was still worried. They were great as a couple, they had learned that after admitting they were both afraid that they would lose each other without Cody there as the glue, but they also both knew that Cody made everything even more amazing. He and Shaun had honestly thought they would never get him back, even Larry’s lawyer had been skeptical. But Matt was on their side now, and that made all the difference. Even if it didn’t happen on Friday like Matt said Zach was finally convinced that Cody would be coming home soon, there were going to be a family again and that was all that mattered.