Justin’s New York sojourn had taken 18 months and then he came back to me and the Pitts; something I had never thought would ever happen.
Don’t get me wrong, I was more than happy to have him back, it had been the longest 18 months of my life, even if we did see each other about twice a month. We even went to Toronto together every other month to see Gus and the girls.
No, I just couldn’t imagine why anybody would want to come back to live in Pittsburgh after New York, but then again, I probably would too if there was something anchoring him here instead of the other way around.
The girls had gotten more or less settled pretty quickly. Melanie couldn’t practice Canadian law, but she worked for a firm who had a lot of business with American companies. She took care of the side of the transactions that involved American law.
Lindsay had gotten work as an art teacher at a high school pretty quickly, but neither of them was particularly happy with the work they were doing. Mel really wanted to practice family law and Lindsay had loved her work at the Sydney Bloom gallery.
Now it looked as if they were coming home too. Apparently, Mel’s old firm still hadn’t found someone else to buy out her share and Sidney Bloom had made Lindz an offer she had a hard time refusing.
They had acknowledged the fact that they had run in fear, and that they needed to teach the kids to stand fast and fight for what you believe in.
It had been 2 years now, and all four of us fathers were more than ready to have the kids back. Yes, I see Justin as one of Gus’ fathers, so do both of them, Gus even started calling him Papa when he had heard one of his classmates call her father that.
The look on Justin’s face the first time he heard that had almost broken my heart. He looked like he had just been given the most precious gift of his life, and I guess he had.
Most gay men had to come to terms with never having kids, and I think Justin had accepted that. I was never going to be a fulltime father and therefore the prospect of him having a child if he wanted to be with me was slim to none.
Gus acknowledging him as a father was probably as close as he was ever going to get, and it was more than he had ever hoped for, if the expression on his face was any indication.
For now it was almost Christmas and the girls with the kids were coming to stay with us at the house for a week and a half. Deb was all but bouncing off the ceiling with happiness and Michael, being his mother’s son, was driving everybody insane with his constant reminders that everything had to be perfect when they got here.
Justin and I were happy that Britin was big enough to accommodate all four of them, but equally happy that JR was going to spend some of the time at her fathers’ house and the girls would be out visiting friends. That way we would have a lot of time just the two of us with Gus.
They arrived on the 22nd, but it was late in the evening, so both Gus and JR were asleep in the car. We carried them into the house and up to their rooms. The munchers were impressed, especially Mel, who looked shocked when we showed her into JR’s room. I smirked; I love catching Mel off her feet like that.
Justin and I went back downstairs after we had shown the girls their room for the stay and they started to unpack. When they joined us in the living room, we talked for a little while about what was going to happen over the next few days. After a while, Lindsay looked like she was about to collapse, so we said goodnight and went to bed; we anticipated an early wakeup call the next morning from an excited boy.
When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. I had fallen asleep in the car on the way to Daddy and Papa’s house, it was a very long drive; and when I woke up, I was in a strange bed.
I looked around and saw that it was a big bed that looked a little like Santa’s sleigh. It was big, bigger than my bed at home, and it was very soft.
There was wood halfway up the walls the same color as the bed. The top of the walls were light blue and there were frames with pictures of me as all kinds of different things; a firefighter, an astronaut, a racecar driver, a policeman, an artist and a doctor.
I jumped out of bed to go look more closely at the pictures and to do that, I had to pull the curtains away from the window. What I saw out the window had me laughing and clapping; it was a pool. I couldn’t believe that my daddy and papa had a pool at their house; they hadn’t told me that.
I turned away from the window to go look at the pictures. On the wall at the foot of the bed was the racecar driver. I was sitting in a bright blue racecar that was getting new wheels; the people putting the wheels on were my whole family: Daddy, Papa, Mommy, Mama, Uncle Michael, Uncle Ben, Uncle Ted and Uncle Em. Uncle Blake was putting gas in the car and Uncle Drew was cleaning the windshield. It was a really cool picture.
At the head of the bed was the firefighter, it had a red fire engine and me in front with a hose; I was wearing a fire suit and a helmet. It was a cool picture too, but I still liked the racecar one better because the family was almost all in that one.
The wall next to the bed had two pictures, the doctor, who was in green scrubs putting plaster on Jenny’s leg, that was kinda funny; Jenny had never hurt her leg and I didn’t want her to, but it was pretty cool that she was in one of the pictures too.
The picture next to that one was the policeman, he was arresting a man. I couldn’t see who it was because he had his back to the picture; so did I, but I had my head turned talking to Grandpa Carl. I thought that made sense since he’s a policeman.
The wall opposite the bed had a bookcase that was as tall as the wood that covered the walls. In half of it were books and games and over that hung the picture of me as an astronaut. I was in the astronaut suit floating in space next to the spaceship; it looked like I was fixing something on the ship.
The second half of the bookcase was filled with toys, paper, crayons and markers. Over that hung the picture of me as an artist; I was standing in a studio painting Granma Deb, who was sitting on a chair in front of the easel. I was happy she was in one of the paintings too; now my whole family was there.
I woke up early and looked at Brian sleeping for a little while before my bladder demanded I get out of bed. After I was done in the bathroom, I went down to the kitchen to start breakfast and a pot of coffee. I set the table and then went back upstairs to wake up Brian and get Gus out of bed.
When I knocked on his door, he opened it up and all but flew out into my arms.
“Papa, the pictures are beautiful, I love my room.”
He was grinning and I couldn’t help but grin back.
“I’m so happy you liked it, buddy. Now breakfast is ready, will you go tell your mothers? They are in the room over there.”
I pointed to the girls’ room and Gus took off running, almost bowling Brian down.
“Hey, Sonny Boy, where are you going in such a hurry?”
Gus flung himself at Brian, who smiled brightly and lifted his son up for a hug and a kiss on the cheek before putting him down again.
“I’m gonna go wake up Mommy and Mama.”
“No need, we’re up.”
They came out of Jenny’s room with the little girl safely snuggled into Mel’s arms. She saw us and smiled widely and we all made our way down to breakfast.
After breakfast, we all bundled up and went out onto the grounds to take a long walk and hash out what was going to happen during their stay with us. All the family would be at the house for Christmas dinner on Christmas eve and they would then all sleep here so we could be together to open the presents on Christmas morning.
After that, Michael and Ben would take Jenny with them to stay at their house for a few days while the girls stayed with Carl and Debbie to be closer to their friends in the city. Gus would stay with us.
We helped Gus and Jenny make a pair of rather large snowmen, or a snowman and a snow woman, outside the French doors to the dining room, that way, we’d be able to see them while we ate Christmas dinner the next night. I sacrificed one of my scarves and Lindz found an old wicker basket she could transform into a hat for the snow woman. They got their carrot noses and some prunes for eyes. They were amazingly spectacular if you ask me, and we all had a wonderful time making them; that last one was the most important thing about the whole experience.