“Ok, now all you have to do is fold in the chocolate chips and then we can spoon them into the muffin tins,” Sam handed Amanda a spatula and smiled as she started folding in chocolate chips with an unnecessary amount of focus. Mike was sitting on a nearby counter eating batter off of the beaters while Hannah was beating the shit out of some bread dough. He could hear Steve out in the front part of the store, laughing and talking to customers.
“Did I do that right?” Amanda asked, poking at the thoroughly mixed dough with her spatula. Sam studied it for a second before dipping a spoon into the mix and tasting it.
“Oh god, this is perfect ‘Manda! Mikey come taste this, it has chocolate now.” Sam held out the spoon to Mike and Mike leaned forward for a taste.
“Fuck ‘Manda this is awesome!” Mike grinned at her and Amanda preened at the compliment. Amanda was a mess in the kitchen normally, so on slow mornings, Sam would try to teach her easy recipes so that she could make them on her own.
“Now, all we have to do is scoop them into muffin tins and then bake them. How about you go out and work with Steve for a little while, he probably needs some help now.”
“Alright! Thanks for helping me, Sam.” Amanda pressed a kiss to Sam’s forehead before swapping out her baking apron for her counter apron.
“Don’t thank me, the customers are going to love these. They match the season.” Sam grinned at her before she hurried out front.
“Gah!” Hannah threw the dough at the counter before leaning against the counter.
“You ok honey?” Sam asked, already turning back to the muffins.
“Yeah, customers are stupid. They’re so fucking condescending.”
“Uh-Oh, who said what?” Mike jumped off his counter and walked over to sit on the counter next to her.
“Some fucking bitch ordered a latte, I made it for her and she said it was ‘wrong,” Hannah brushed her hair back and glared at the wall. “So I remade it for her cause it was slow and why the fuck not. She took it from me and just said ‘well I know why you’re wearing the apron in this situation’.”
“Oh fuck no.” Sam’s head snapped up to look at her.
“I know right!?” Hannah whirled around and flung her arms up.
“Well, I have some dry ingredients that need to be mixed together with a whisk so you could do that to beat out your anger,” Sam said, glancing around and trying to figure out what was still needed to be baked before noon. He generally stopped baking between twelve and two pm so that they didn’t have a surplus.
“Great, thanks Beans.”
“That’s not my last name anymore.” Sam stuck his tongue out at her and flashed his wedding ring.
“Yeah yeah, Hess.” He could hear the smile in Hannah’s voice as they both turned back to their own baking. Almost silently Mike started collecting and washing dishes as fast as they were making them. He hated working in the front store and baking, but it was his store so he helped out wherever his partners needed him to and just generally enjoyed the baked goods provided.
The store had been left to Mike in his dad’s will, to be inherited by Mike when he turned 21 or graduated college. It was written in such a way in the will that his mom couldn’t touch it no matter how much she tried. It actually had come as a surprise to Mike when he turned 21 and got a letter from a lawyer he hadn’t ever heard from before that gave him full ownership of a paid off bakery in a smaller mountain skiing town. All five of them had been a semester away from graduating so they decided to go and visit it as a group, check it out and decide what they wanted to do with it.
Sam had fallen in love with the place immediately, the kitchen having been state of the art, meanwhile, Amanda and Steve loved the area, being avid skiers. Hannah and Mike were neutral at first but Sam, Amanda, and Steve loved the place so much that they started to love it by association. They all wrapped up college and moved into the apartment above the bakery immediately. The apartment had never been intended for five people to live in, but they made it work. They went out and bought two king-sized beds and fitted them together so that they could all sleep together comfortably and they made it work however they could.
Steve worked part-time in the bakery as a cashier and in the winters he would work as a ski instructor. Sam was the main baker, making the menus getting up at 3 am to start baking for a 6 am open. Amanda was the only consistent face on the front counter, as she was the only person who could work with customers and not try to kill them when they pissed her off. Mike and Hannah would alternate between baristas for the drinks they offered and helping Sam in the kitchen. Mike worked mostly behind the scenes though, making sandwiches and working with Sam, as the customers made him nervous.
Amanda’s parents had been extremely supportive of the entire thing and even helped them to stay afloat during the first year as they established a client base around town with locals and tourists alike. After they had been open for one year though they were able to keep themselves afloat, and to celebrate Sam proposed to Amanda. Everyone was ecstatic and they were married within three months. Mike and Steve stood by Sam’s side and Hannah stood at Amanda’s. There weren’t many people in attendance, Amanda’s parents and the few friends they had made in town in the year. Sam chose to take Amanda’s name at the wedding to create a layer of separation between himself and his parents.
After the wedding, they all went out together to get matching tattoos, as a reminder for each other that even though Sam and Amanda are legally married they are all committed to each other forever. The only thing keeping them from making it legal was, the law.
This last year had gone by in a flash, them figuring out how to be a family, run a business, and balance everything together. It was mid-October of their third year of running the bakery together and everything seemed to be running smoother than ever. Sam could have the time to teach Amanda how to bake, Steve took them skiing in the winter, they celebrated a variety of holidays together, and they loved each other more than anyone else had loved them before.
Sam was snapped out of his musing about the last few years by Mike catching his arm and holding him still.
“Dude! Pay fucking attention, the counter doesn’t need muffin batter.” Mike laughed a little as he held Sam close.
“Oh shit, sorry.” Sam blinked back and realized he’d filled up all the muffin tins on autopilot and had run out of trays before he had run out of batter.
“Where were you? Cause you sure as shit weren’t here,” Hannah asked, studying him from across the counter.
“I was remembering the last few years we’ve been together and running this place,” Sam admitted while taking the filled trays and loading up the industrial oven. As soon as he closed the oven he felt arms wrap around his waist and he was pulled back into the solid and familiar chest of Mike.
“My dad sure left us something special didn’t he.”
“Two things if you ask me.” Sam leaned his head against Mike and closed his eyes.
“Ok fine, two special things if you count me.”
“Which we do!” Hannah cut in, coming up in front of Sam and joining the hug. “Now c’mon, while those are baking I need some coffee or alcohol or something.”
“No drinking alcohol in the shop,” Sam said as she left the kitchen. She flipped him off and disappeared into the main store. After a second more of resting in Mike’s arms, the two of them followed her and were immediately confronted by the sight of Amanda yelling at someone, with Steve and Hannah on either side of her backing her up.
“Whoa whoa! Let’s calm down everyone.” Sam ducked around the other three to figure out who they were yelling at. He saw a tall man in a suit and a shorter woman with familiar blonde hair that caused him a moment of pause.
“Mom?” Mike’s voice cracked as he realized who was in the store.
“Hello, uh, Matthew?” His mom said.
“That’s not my name.” Mike glanced at Sam in mild panic and Steve was actively holding back Hannah and Amanda from going over the counter at her.
“Of course it is.” She seemed uncomfortable but wouldn’t back down.
“What are you doing here?” Steve snapped, losing patience with her.
“My client is here to take her claim on this store, as stated in her late husband’s will,” The lawyer spoke up, lifting up his briefcase and setting it on the counter. Everyone froze in shock as they processed what he said.
“But, she doesn’t have a claim.” Mike reached out and wrapped his fingers in the back of Steve’s shirt. Sam walked closer and took Hannah’s hand to keep her calm.
“According to this recently found will of your father’s she actually has full claim to the bakery.” The lawyer opened the briefcase and pulled out a small stapled together stack of papers. Steve snatched it from his hands and handed it to Amanda.
“Well, we’re going to have our own lawyers look into this, so until we straighten all of this out we’re going to have to ask you to leave. You’ve caused a scene and upset the boss.” Steve let Amanda and Hannah go and they both moved around the counter to escort them out. Mike stood strong next to Steve and Sam until his mom and her lawyer were out of sight when he collapsed against the counter.
“Oh my god, there’s a second will. Why is there a second will?” Mike pressed his head into his hands and Sam rubbed his back, picking up the will Amanda put down and handing it back to Steve. Steve started flipping through it while Mike started sobbing.
“Mike, c’mon let’s go upstairs.” Sam gently pulled Mike away from the counter and through the kitchen to the staircase to their apartment. He could hear Steve behind following behind them, and he could hear Hannah and Amanda calming down customers and trying to close the store for the rest of the day.
“Do, do you think he actually wrote another will?” Mike asked as he collapsed on the couch.
“Based on what you told me of your dad I wouldn’t believe it for a second.” Sam pulled Mike’s head onto his lap and started running his hands through his hair while Steve sat at Sam’s feet and read through the will.
“This doesn’t sound like the first one, like at all. Like, in the first one he specifically pointed out how he wasn’t leaving anything to your mom cause she was 'The worst mistake he ever made that brought him the light of his life.' Well, this will doesn’t mention you at all, and it talks about how he’s leaving 'everything he owned to his beloved wife, whom he cherished more than anything else.' It’s a complete one-eighty. And the donations he made to the research for HIV have all been removed.” Steve said.
“Amanda is calling her parents and lawyer, I think she’s going to get them here within the next twenty-four hours.” Hannah came into the room and sat down on the couch, pulling Mike’s feet into her lap. “You alright?”
“That’s fair.” She started rubbing his legs and sighed deeply, glancing at Sam and Steve. Sam shrugged and Steve handed her the will to read through before taking Mike’s hand.
“Why did she have to come back? I was fucking happy, and here she comes destroying everything as normal.” Mike pressed his face into Sam’s lap and choked back more sobs.
“It’s ok Mike. We’ll beat this. She can’t just show up waving around a fake ass will and expect us to roll over and take it. And once we beat this we’ll get a restraining order, just like we have with Sam’s parents.” Hannah flipped through the will and then throwing it on the coffee table.
“Promise?” Mike’s voice was muffled by Sam’s lap but still understandable.
“Promise,” The three chorused, as Amanda entered the room.
“Alright, my parents are going to be on the first flight, and they’re bringing two other lawyers with them.” She sat down next to Steve and held his hand, resting her head on Mike’s side.
“We’re going to beat this,” Sam swore to Mike. “Now let’s eat everything in the bakery before it goes bad, and watch some shitty movie.”
“Yeah, ok.” Mike agreed, letting Amanda and Steve pull him up. They spent the rest of the day relaxing and ignoring the problem, though they all went to bed feeling a little uneasy.
“Mom! Dad!” Amanda waved her arms to get her parents attention in the busy airport. Sam and Steve were standing next to her, and they both also started waving at Mr. and Mrs. Hess. They hurried over and gave her a tight hug before pulling the boys in as well.
“It’s so good to see you all! Now, where is poor Michael? That poor boy, what a terrible mother. Oh, this is Teresa and David, Teresa works at my firm and David works at your father's” Mrs. Hess picked up her bag and looked at them expectantly. Sam immediately started leading the way for them to their van, Mr. and Mrs. Hess right behind them and their lawyers taking up the rear.
“Mike is back at the bakery, holding down the fort with Hannah,” Steve told them as they walked to the car.
“Well good, she’ll keep him distracted. So what is the plan for us?” Mr. Hess asked, walking up to one of the cars.
“Well, dad, you and mom are going to come with me and Sam, while Steve is going to drive your two associates. We have a copy of the ‘will’ for each of you to review and when we get to the bakery we hope to start making a plan of attack.” Amanda leaned on her car as she explained everything.
“Sounds perfect dear,” Mrs. Hess said, smiling as Sam pulled out several copies of the will from his bag. “We’ll look this over on the way and hopefully have an idea of what we’re up against. But don’t you worry, Mrs. Jaundice doesn’t know what she’s up against.”
“Great,” Steve smiled at them before turning to the other two lawyers. “So my car is over here you two.”
“Alright, we’ll see you back at the bakery,” Teresa said, following Steve to his car. Sam and Amanda slid into their car, followed by the Hess parents. The ride back to the bakery was silent, Sam lost in thought as he held Amanda’s hand and stared out the window, the Hess parents reading the will in the back, and Amanda focusing on her driving. By the time they pulled back into the bakery Sam had chewed his nails off completely and had managed to worry about every possible outcome of the situation.
“Now, let’s go in and see our dear Michael. He needs a good hug and some legal advice.” Mrs. Hess climbed out of the car and beelining into the bakery. Everyone else hurried after her, and by the time they made it into the bakery Mrs. Hess was pulling back from Mike and leading him over to a booth.
“Hello, Michael!” Mr. Hess greeted him as he slid into the booth next to his wife. Sam hurried back to the kitchen to get food for everyone, while Hannah was getting coffee for everyone. Amanda went to take over the front counter while Steve sat down next to Mike to offer him comfort.
“Hello Mr. Hess,” Mike greeted him while talking mostly towards the table.
“Now Mr. Jaundice, this will is thorough, but we would need to see what the original will says to compare the tone,” David said, putting the will on the table.
“Alright, I have a copy upstairs in a filing cabinet.” Mike started to get up but Sam was already coming by with food and the copy of the will. He passed out the food and handed the will to David, giving Mike a smile before heading back to the kitchen. Steve threw an arm around Mike’s shoulder and worked on getting him to eat, while the lawyers all read through both wills and compared them. Before they could start talking about it though, the door opened and Mrs. Jaundice walked in with her own team of people.
“So when it’s mine I want to redesign everything, and we’re going to have to do something about the terrible name.”
“Hello Mrs. Jaundice,” Amanda said through gritted teeth.
“Hello, Amy dear. We’re just here to take some measurements and things, don’t mind us.”
“You don’t own this restaurant and I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” Amanda said, leaning forward and glaring at her.
“Oh Amy dear,” Mrs. Jaundice laughed and Amanda looked like she was going to launch over the counter to kill her. “It will be soon enough.”
Mike was shrinking down into the booth and Steve felt himself getting ready to defend him, but before he could make a move the Hesses and their extra lawyers stood up and walked over to her.
“Excuse me? Mrs. Jaundice, I’m Mrs. Hess.” She held out her hand and smiled with more teeth than was needed.
“Hello?” Mrs. Jaundice seemed confused and slightly thrown off by the four people approaching her.
“Oh right, that’s my daughter you are being so rude to. And they are co-owners of this bakery. And I believe she asked you to leave.”
“Well, my late husband actually left it to me.”
“Actually,” David suddenly spoke up, holding up both copies of the will. “This so-called will you just brought to the world is a piece of crap and if you want we could take it to court, but I can guarantee we have more resources and proof than you do.”
“Well,” Mrs, Jaundice straightened her shoulders and glared at them. “I will see you in court then.”
She turned on her heels and marched back out of the store, leaving everyone feeling slightly tenser than before.
“I’m sorry,” Mike said, leaning against Steve. “I didn’t know she would come in today.”
“No one knew Mikey, and that’s not your fault.” Steve pulled him into a tighter hug and let out a deep sigh.
“I fucking hate her.”
“So we’re going to take her down,” Mr. Hess said, glaring at the door. “Forgery like this can land her in prison and will at least cost her a major fine.”
“Are you sure it’s a forgery?” Steve asked, glancing at the two wills.
“Absolutely, the signatures are different, the witnesses are different, and the tone is completely different. But the easiest way to prove it’s a forgery is by reaching out to the witnesses who signed her will and finding out if they actually signed it.”
“If she thought this at all the witnesses are real and willing to lie for her, but based on what we’ve seen so far I doubt it. Mike did you recognize the names?” Teresa asked. Mike glanced at them but seemed confused.
“I’m sorry, I can’t even read the names, fuck knowing them.”
“It’s Jason Hamn and Erik Paulson.” Steve read.
“Uh, I actually do know those names. But my dad didn’t. Those are two of the names of my mom’s many many boyfriends.” Mike closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
“That actually will make everything much easier, if your father never met these men and they both have slept with your mom there’s no way it will hold up in court. Right?” Steve looked at everyone else at the table for confirmation. Mr. and Mrs. Hess were nodding and Teresa and David were both looking at them encouragingly.
“Alright, I trust you all. Can I, uh, go back to the kitchen or something?”
“Of course Michael,” Mrs. Hess held his hand for a second before letting him go with a smile.
“Do you want some company, Mike?”
“Nah, b- Steve. Sam is back there so I’ll be fine.” Mike smiled at him slightly before Steve let him out of the booth and he walked back to the kitchen. As soon as he walked into the kitchen he saw Sam pulling a couple of cakes out of the oven. As soon as Sam put them on top of the stove Mike came up behind him and draped himself over Sam’s back.
“Gah!” Sam let out a startled yelp and tried to turn to see him. “Fuck Mike! Are you ok? What’s wrong?”
“I’m tired,” Mike mumbled into his shoulder. Sam linked his fingers with Mike’s and slowly detangled him.
“Hey babe, how about we go upstairs and lay down. We can turn on some music and cuddle.”
“Yeah, please. And can we take one of the cakes?”
“Sure, just let me tell Hannah to come to frost the other one and then we can go upstairs. Do you want to wait in here or wait upstairs?”
“I’ll take the cake a frosting upstairs.” Mike reached around him and picked up one of the cakes and a bowl of frosting. Sam touched his cheek before walking out to the main store to talk to Hannah.
Mike took his treasure up to the apartment and started making a nest on their bed. By the time Sam made it upstairs Mike was completely wrapped in blankets with a cake and the frosting balanced on his legs. He was taking chunks of the cake and covering each one with frosting before eating it.
“Well, you look comfy,” Sam said, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“I’d be comfier if you were in here with me.”
“Want me to turn on some music?”
“No, can you turn on a movie?”
“Sure babe, how about Princess Bride?”
Sam smiled at Mike before hurrying over to the TV and putting in the tape of the Princess Bride, keeping the volume low enough that it would be overbearing but loud enough they could still watch comfortably.
They laid in the bed and ate the entire cake, Sam having to get up and put on Goonies when the Princess Bride ended. A few minutes into Goonies Steve and the girls came up and joined them. Steve curling up next to Sam and the girls snuggling next to Mike.
Hannah had brought up another plate of sweets and Steve brought up a plate with veggies and fruits and other healthier finger foods. They all worked together to make sure that Mike was hydrated and eating healthy foods as well as the sweets and keeping him as distracted as possible.
One by one though they all started falling asleep until it was only Mike and Steve awake.
“I love you.”
“I love you too Mikey.”
“Even if I lose the bakery?”
“Mike.” Steve sat up a little bit and looked at him. “We love you always, it doesn’t rely on the bakery. We can always make a new bakery, even in town. We have enough saved up.”
“Alright, just making sure.” Mike relaxed back against the pillows and drifted off while Steve ran his fingers through his hair.
The next morning they woke up to someone knocking on their door loudly. As soon as they processed what was going on everyone was flinging themselves out of bed and trying to gather themselves.
“Who is it?” Amanda finally yelled.
“Your parents!” They heard Mrs. Hess call back. Amanda let out a breath and walked over to open the door. The Hesses bustled in while waving a piece of paper in the air.
“We have good news!!” Mrs. Hess said before taking them all in. “Oh did we wake you all up?”
“Yeah but it’s fine mama. What do you need?”
“Don’t you need to open the store?”
“Mama. Why are you here at,” Sam glanced at the clock and then closed his eyes. “Six am on my one day to sleep in?”
“Well we thought you’d be awake, I’m sorry. But we have good news! Your mother, Michael, has left town and left this letter taped to the door.”
“What?” Michael walked over and took the letter.
“What’s it say, Mike?” Hannah asked, moving closer.
“Matthew, I am writing this to let you know I am withdrawing my will of your father’s. And to let you know you’ll never have to hear from me again. I hope you live a life better than your father. Your mother.” Mike read the letter out before handing it to Hannah who was making grabby hands for it.
“Damn,” Hannah said blinking at it.
“At least she’s gone,” Mike said, relaxing fully for the first time since she had shown up.
“Your mom’s a bitch,” Steve said, rubbing his eyes and sinking down on the bed.
“If you’d like we could get a restraining order against her,” Mr. Hess said.
“No, no I don’t have anything else she’d ever want. She probably won’t ever come back.”
“Alright Michael.” Mrs. Hess gave them all a warm smile before grabbing her husband’s arm and pulling him towards the door. “We’ll let you all get back to sleep, we’re sorry for waking you up.”
And with that, they walked out the door and the apartment was left in silence again. After a second Steve grabbed Mike’s arm and pulled him down into bed, everyone else piling on next to them.
“Alright I’m not gonna be able to sleep again so I might as well go start baking,” Sam grumbled into Mike’s back where he was pressed.
“Ok babe.” Mike craned his neck around to look at him and Sam wiggled up to press a kiss to his lips.
“Come down when you all want breakfast.” Sam climbed off the bed and grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt that he threw on on his way out of the apartment. Hannah grumbled a little but pulled herself out of bed and got dressed so she could follow Sam downstairs. Amanda had already fallen asleep curled against Steve’s side, while Mike was curled into his other side.
“I know we can’t get married, but uh. Fuck this is a weird thing to ask.” Mike started to pull away but Steve just held him tighter.
“Well, I don’t know what you want to ask but you have me interested. Marriage?”
“Yeah, I mean. Remember how Amanda and Sam got married because even though they love all of us equally cause Sam needed to change his last name.”
“I want to do that, but with you. And I know we can’t get married, but I can change my name.”
“Michael Kane, I like the sound of that.” Steve smiled at him and a second later Michael smiled back. “When we get up for the day we can go talk to the Hesses and they can help us out with that.”
“Thank you, Steve.” Mike pressed his head into Steve’s neck and closed his eyes. Steve held Mike and Amanda close and started making plans for how to keep Mike’s mom away from him forever.