He didn’t know when Miley Cyrus had gotten married and realistically Altair could only make himself care so much. But there were no men’s magazine’s in the waiting room, just ones for women or children and he couldn’t bring himself to read the Nickelodeon or Highlight magazines. Agitatedly he flipped away from the cover story. There had to be something good in here. It couldn’t all be about petty celebrities and their petty lives. It was bad enough he lived in L.A. And had to deal with celeb sightings in his real life, he didn’t want to then have to read about it in a magazine.
With a grunt of disgust he closed the magazine and tossed it onto the table in front of him and folded one leg over the other with a sigh. Desmond was playing with some blocks from a chest that the pediatrician had in his waiting room. They’d been here twenty minutes and that was too damn long as far as he was concerned. He had to go home and work on his paper damnit. But this was important too. Desmond needed to get his vaccines before he started school in a month. So Altair had put away his work for summer classes and dragged Desmond to his doctor’s appointment.
That had been easier said then done. Desmond loathed the doctor. He fussed and whined and clung to Altair like velcro. Right now he was all right, as he was distracted with blocks. But that wouldn’t last long.
His phone beeped and he pulled it from his pocket. ‘Done yet?’ was the text from Malik.
‘Haven’t even gotten in the office yet.’
‘Damn’ ‘We’re having a cook-out at the beach. You’re coming,’ he smirked, Malik didn’t even give him room to argue. But then after being together for three years he knew better then to let Altair wiggle his way out something by asking.
‘When? And Des is coming, I don’t have a sitter.’
‘Cool cool. Five o’clock, Seal Beach. Mike’s throwing it.’
‘He dragging his sugar daddy with him?’
‘Who do you think is paying for it?’
At that Altair laughed and Desmond looked up from where he was building a huge tower out of blocks. “Altair Miles?” the receptionist suddenly called. ‘Okay, gotta go,’ he texted back quickly. “Altair Miles?” she asked again.
He quickly jumped to his feet, “Yeah, that’s me,” he said and went over to his brother who didn’t look happy now. “C’mon,” and he grabbed Desmond’s hand to pull him to his feet. But the boy was stubborn and wouldn’t budge. “Desmond,” he growled irritantly and just picked him up, since that was what he wanted in the first place. Desmond wrapped his arms around his neck. “You’re too big for this,” he grumbled as he set the boy on his hip. Altair wasn’t exactly tall, and while he was plenty strong carrying a six year old around wasn’t the most ideal thing ever.
“Mr. Miles?” the nurse asked when he arrived in front of her.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Altair said as Desmond buried his face in Altair’s shoulder.
The nurse smiled at him, “If you’ll come this way,” she said and turned around. He followed, shifting Desmond a bit to get a better grip on him as she led him down a corridor with several doors leading off it.
Desmond wiggled in his arms, “Hey, if you don’t stop you can walk,” he said sternly and after a few more seconds Desmond stilled.
“Right this way,” the nurse said helpfully and opened the door for him. The walls were paining a baby-duck yellow and there were pictures of babies and little kids on the walls. Desmond had been coming to this doctor since they’d moved here three years ago and there was a picture of him somewhere in this place. He sat on the chair there next to the counter putting Desmond on his lap.
The nurse asked him a few questions before saying it would just be a moment for the shots. Desmond didn’t like shots. After that she left and Altair had to deal with a squirmy little brother. “Fine, go,” and he let Desmond go. He immediately slipped off his lap. “We’re going to the beach for dinner,” he added.
“Is Mikey going to be there?” Desmond asked. His little brother got along really well with his friend Mike, who adored the crap out of him and spoiled him worse then Altair did. Which was really hard since Altair spoiled Desmond a lot.
“Yeah, him and Rich and probably Sam and his brother and Malik and if Kadar’s lucky he may be coming too. Some other people may be coming, so be good when we go. Kay?”
“Kaaaay,” Desmond said and swung his arms back and forth, looking from Altair to the door and back again nervously. Altair just leaned back in the chair and checked his phone. There was message waiting for him, ‘Out yet?’
‘No, now leave me alone.’
Altair just rolled his eyes and pocketed the phone with a huff as the door opened. In came the nurse. “All right Desmond,” she said sweetly. “This’ll be over real quick,” and a smile accompanied her voice. “Now will you get up on the bed for me?”
Desmond looked at him worriedly, “Go on,” he said nodding, “I’m not going anywhere.” Desmond frowned at him but did get up on the pallet. The cheap almost wax paper crackled as he got up there. The nurse was turned away from him and was filling a syringe with clear fluid, latex gloves already on. She flicked the needle to get out the air bubbles and set it down with a cap over the needle to grab some alcohol and a cotton ball.
She rolled Desmond’s short sleeve up and wiped the wet cotton ball on his skin, following it with a dry one and then grabbed the needle from the counter. Desmond was staring at him as the nurse uncapped the syringe and he anticipated Desmond bolting. Before he could though the nurse pushed the needle into his skin. Desmond cried out and the next second he was crying as she pushed the stopper down and then pulled the needle out quickly. He bet there really wasn’t any pain. But Desmond was still freaked out.
“Altaiiiir,” he sobbed and when the nurse let go of him he ran over to him and climbed into his lap. Altair wrapped his arms around him and gently shushed him.
“Oh dear,” the nurse said sympathetically. “He’s still got two more to go,” she said looking upset that Desmond was upset, it wasn’t like she was trying to hurt him.
“Alright,” Altair nodded and stood, still holding Desmond to him and went and sat on the cot. “C’mon buddy, it’s okay,” he cooed gently. Desmond just sniffled into his shirt and shook his head pressing into Altair’s chest. “You’re a big boy, you need to get your shots,” and he yanked up his brother’s sleeve nodding to the nurse since Desmond was distracted by Altair’s gentle hand on his back. Desmond jerked when she pressed the next needle into his skin but Altair held him tightly so he didn’t break the needle. Desmond screamed when he was stabbed. It made Altair’s ears ring a little.
“See, that wasn’t so bad,” Altair said and pulled Desmond from his chest.
“Is it over?” he croaked, sniffling. His eyes were red but there were no tears, and he had some boogers, but that was just because his little brother was a boogery boy.
“Just one more,” Altair said and jostled his leg a little. Desmond shook his head adamantly. “If you can tough it out this last one we’ll go get something special when we’re done,” he said, the best way to get Desmond to do anything was a bribe, especially food. Desmond loved food and literally would eat anything put in front of him so long as it wasn’t just vegetables (Desmond wasn’t a fan of vegetables), not like some kids who were fussy and picky and wouldn’t eat some foods. Desmond didn’t have that problem, and it probably had to do with the fact that Altair cooked a lot, and in the beginning his food hadn’t been… well it hadn’t been amazing. But still in the years he’d been cooking for them he’d gotten better.
“Like what?” Desmond sniffed.
“Hmmm,” he pretended to think about it. “Ice cream?”
Desmond swallowed, “O-okay,” he whimpered.
“Great, now, the nice lady is going to give you your last shot and then we’re aaaaaall done,” he said rubbing his brother’s back gently. The nurse raised his other sleeve and cleaned the skin with alcohol. Altair pressed his lips to the top of Desmond’s head through his hair. The boy whined and clung to him when the nurse gave him his last shot, but at least he didn’t scream. “There. All done!” he said enthusiastically and gave him a kiss on the forehead. Desmond just wrapped his arms around his neck but said nothing.
“Well that’s it,” the nurse said seeming as grateful as Altair that the vaccinations were over with. Desmond let her put some bandaids over where he’d gotten his shots and then she stepped back. “The receptionist at the front desk will schedule your next appointment for the next round of vaccinations.”
“Okay,” Altair said and with a slight groan stood up, having to hold Desmond up higher then his waist. “Thanks, and erm… sorry,” he added sheepishly.
She just smiled and opened the door for him, “It’s fine, happens all the time,” she said understandingly.
He walked through the door back to the front desk just as his phone started to ring. Not beep, but ring. He muttered a curse and fished out his phone, checking to see who it was. He silenced it when he saw it was Malik and put it on the counter when he stepped up to it. He made the next appointment for a few months in the future and used the ‘judge issued money’ credit card to pay the co-pay for their doctor’s visit since thankfully he had been able to stay on the same health insurance his parents had (same company, different accounts now though).
His phone rang again as he was strapping Desmond into his car seat, wiping his nose with a tissue and making him blow. “What?” he asked, holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder.
“You done yet?” Malik whined through the phone.
“Just got done, we’re going out for ice cream,” and he gave Desmond’s chin a playful tug and the boy smiled a little at him.
“Oh sweet. So the squirt’s all vaccinated up?”
“Yeah,” Altair said closing the back door and sliding into the driver’s seat. “Two more months till he’s done till he’s like thirteen. Thank god,” he groaned. Malik laughed over the receiver.
“Where you going? Can I meet you there?”
“That awesome place down by the beach, you know the one with the rainbow macaw out front?”
“Altair I want a banana split,” Desmond called from the back seat as he twisted in his seat, pulling out of the parking lot.
“You couldn’t eat one by yourself last time. You can’t get one,” Altair told him sternly. Desmond pouted at him. “We’ll be there in like twenty minutes,” he told Malik as he straitened his Volvo out.
“I’ll see you there,” Malik said and then hung up. Altair put his phone away before turning on the music and rolled down the windows before heading out of the parking lot.
Desmond hopped next to him as they walked from the car to the ice cream parlor. The live rainbow macaw squawked at them in greeting from within his cage. “Hello,” Desmond said cheerfully.
“Herrow,” the parrot mimicked back and Desmond giggled as Altair pushed open the door to the ice cream parlor. The place was cool, especially compared to the south California summer and smelled like coffee and ice cream. He glanced around quickly to see if Malik had gotten there before them; he hadn’t.
Desmond pulled him eagerly over to the display counter and stood up on his tip toes to see into the case. “Hello, how can I help you?” asked the teenager behind the cabinet with a black apron over his white t-shirt.
“Just a second,” Altair said.
“Sure,” he nodded and Altair scanned the menu. He wasn’t interested in ice cream, and he’d probably end up finishing Desmond’s anyway. An ice coffee sounded like a good idea though.
“You know what you want?” he asked Desmond. His little brother nodded. “Okay, we’re ready,” he called to the worker who was there in a second. “I’ll have a medium, iced, latte,” he said, “No whipped cream on top,” he added.
“I want strawberry cheesecake and the blue colored one,” Desmond said, jumping up and down energetically. Like he needed more sugar.
The guy looked at Altair for confirmation, “And that, medium, in a bowl.”
“You got it,” he said cheerfully and told the other person about Altair’s iced latte. As the man gave Desmond his bowl of ice cream the door opened again, it was slow right now, as it was closer to dinner then lunch now, and when Altair looked it was Malik.
“You ordered without me,” Malik pouted at him.
“All the better,” Altair told him smugly, “That means you can’t pay for it.” That was a long battle and argument that had been going on even before they’d started dating. Altair didn’t want to rely on anyone if he didn’t have to to pay for things he and Desmond needed. Malik enjoyed spoiling him (Altair that was, not Desmond, Desmond had Altair and Mike to spoil him already) and paying for things, both with and without Altair’s permission or buying him spontaneous gifts. At least once he’d been home to randomly get a pretty big edible arrangement delivered to his door. Altair had been torn between being pissed and totally melting cause he had the best boyfriend in fucking existence.
Malik just made a face at him and got himself a small cup of turtle tracks as Altair was paying for his and Desmond’s stuff, Desmond already happily sucking down the pink and blue ice cream. They sat in one of the booths before Malik joined them, sitting opposite the both of them. “So I heard you got your shots today Des,” Malik said as he ate his ice cream. Desmond nodded with a deep frown on his little face. “It hurt?”
“Yes,” he said moodily.
“He screamed right in my ear,” Altair said.
“It hurt!” Desmond cried defensively.
“You didn’t scream when you knew you were getting ice cream,” Altair said. Desmond looked at his ice cream bowl.
“You should watch out Altair, your little brother might be a mastermind.”
“Yeah, making me buy him all the ice cream in the shop,” and he ruffled his brother’s brown hair.
Malik snorted, “Not like you aren’t the biggest softy every,” he smirked.
“I have a heart made of ice,” Altair said stoically and sipped his ice coffee. That made Malik laugh. “When we get done here we’re going back home before heading down to the beach for the cook out.”
“All right. I was just down there, Mike’s digging a fire pit.”
“Oh yeah. He’s super excited about it. We caught some waves earlier before he started to run around like a chicken with it head cut off.”
“You’ve been at the beach all day haven’t you?” and Malik nodded. “Why do I go out with a beach bum like you?” he sighed theatrically.
“Because of my devilish good looks,” Malik said sending him a look that almost made him snort his coffee out his noise.
“You’re a ham,” Altair told him as Malik put his sandaled feet on top of his own.
“Sexiest ham you’ve ever seen,” Malik declared and ate a big bite of ice cream.
“Altair,” Desmond said, he looked down at his little brother, “My head hurts,” he whined.
“You ate your ice cream too fast, squirt,” he said. “You got brain freeze,” and he took Desmond’s spoon and ate some himself. The blue ice cream tasted like Fruit Loops and the pink speckled one like cheesecake. They tasted weird together. Not bad, just weird.
“Make it stop,” Desmond whined.
“Just tough it out, it’ll go away in a minute,” he stroked Desmond’s head comfortingly, knowing there wasn’t anything he really could do if Desmond had brain freeze. While Desmond toughed out his brain freeze Altair ate half his ice cream and played footsie with Malik who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely. Obviously. Malik always seemed to have too much fun fucking with him… or fucking him. Both were usually pretty enjoyable for both parties honestly. Once Desmond was over his brain freeze he grabbed the spoon back from Altair, but ate slower then before.
“So when does the cook out start again?” Altair asked as he pressed the ball of his foot up against Malik’s.
“Well it starts at five, but food doesn’t start till six. But you know how it is, everyone will get there, screw around for an hour and then start whining about being hungry. Mike’s sugar daddy is bringing a grill and everything.”
“Dang,” Altair said, impressed. They never called Mike’s boyfriend by his real name, if only because it ticked Mike off, and they all loved to watch him get red faced and embarrassed when they called the older guy his sugar daddy. “So like burgers and hotdogs and stuff?”
“Yeah. And there’s ganna be drinks too,” Altair made a face, “I know you don’t drink Mr. Responcible-Guardian, but some of us are going to,” he teased and pushed against Altair’s foot.
“Altair I’m full,” Desmond said. He looked down at his brother, there were a few spoonfuls of ice cream left but Altair didn’t feel like eating it. He shoved it over to Malik who gladly scarfed it down.
“Lets go wash our hands Des,” he said and slipped out of the booth. Desmond pushed himself after him and they went into the bathroom while Malik finished off Desmond’s ice cream. Desmond washed his hands and face of sticky ice cream and practically stood under the air dryer to dry his hands and face. When he was done he extended his arms; he wanted Altair to carry him. “You’re lucky you’re so cute little bro or this whole carrying thing would have been over by now,” he said putting his brother on his hip. Desmond was really getting too big for this and that was besides the fact that he hadn’t hit his growth spurt yet.
Malik was waiting for them outside in the sun. He looked even darker then usual and he had his sunglasses on. “We’re ganna go home, but we’ll see you at the cook out,” Altair promised.
“All right. I just got a text from Mike, he wanted me to pick up some charcoal for him.”
“Ah, see, you can do something useful today and go buy things for other people instead of me,” he stuck his tongue out at Malik who grinned at him.
“You like it when I spoil you,” he told him cheekily. “I’ll see you at five? Six?”
“Five thirty or so,” Altair nodded.
“Okay,” and he leaned over to kiss him.
“Ewwwww,” Desmond said from Altair’s arms. They proceeded to deepen the kiss and he heard Desmond cover his eyes. He didn’t have a problem with Desmond seeing him and Malik kiss, there was nothing wrong with it. Not like some parents who freaked out if their kids were exposed to this sort of intimacy. Altair was all for Desmond knowing that Altair loved his boyfriend and didn’t have a problem letting everyone know it, even if he was insufferable at times.
“I’ll see you later,” Malik said when they parted and Altair licked his lips. He nodded and Malik walked away towards the nearest grocery where he could pick up some charcoal. Altair turned the opposite direction towards his car.
“Altair you’ve got cooties,” Desmond said making a face.
“Mmm, yeah,” he agreed. “Cooties are awesome,” he said setting Desmond down so he could open the door. Desmond got into his car seat and buckled himself in without help.
“They are?” Desmond asked.
“Yeah. They’re kinda all gross when you’re little though.”
“Yeah,” Desmond made a face.
“Don’t let any of your friends give you cooties, got it?” not till he’d hit puberty, please for the love of god he did not want to deal with prepubescent dating. It was just weird and his brother should be worrying about other things and not girls, or boys, whichever one he wanted. Just fuck not for a while. He was not so secretly dreading having ‘The Talk’, even if he would probably give the most chill Talk ever.
“Why not, if they’re good?”
“Cause their cooties,” and he tickled his brother, making him yelp and giggle. “They’re still kinda gross. Just less gross when you’re and old guy like me.”
“You aren’t old Altair,” Desmond said.
“Older then you,” and he closed the door before getting into the front seat. “So,” he said before starting the car, “We’re going to go home, chill out for a bit then go to the beach for dinner.”
“I want to make a sand castle!” Desmond declared.
Altair chuckled. “Okay, we’ll bring your beach stuff, okay?”
“Yeah,” he nodded eagerly and kicked his feet against his seat. Altair started the Volvo and pulled out of the parking space, he could hear the rainbow macaw squawk as they left.