He couldn't stop thinking how beautiful she looked tonight. The summer sun gave her skin the most beautiful tan possible. They sat on his back deck with a fire going cuddled under a blanket. "I'm gonna miss this." She said sadly snuggled into him.
"Let's not talk about that right now." He muttered.
"Well can I at least thank you for a great summer?" She smiled.
"Your welcome." He said kissing her temple sweetly.
3 months ago they came into one another's lives by complete accident. She saw the neighbor's house go up in flames and dialed 911 immediately, not thinking she ran up the front porch, shouting for her aunt's neighbor, Mrs. Baker. When she didn't hear anything she kicked in the glass door hoping the old woman wasn't dead.
He was one of the fireman that showed up to the scene and pulled her away from the burning house. As she looked on in fear that Mrs. Baker was seriously injured or worse, she couldn't help but look on as this certain fireman worked diligently to get into the house. After a few minutes she was relieved to see Mrs. Baker emerge with that very same fireman coughing up a storm and gasping for air.
He placed the old woman on a stretcher and helped the paramedic get her oxygen. "Wait" She cried out, "Where are you taking her?!"
That same fireman turned around, "She needs medical attention, they will transport her to the hospital."
"Can I ride with her?" She asked.
"You family?" He responded.
"Well no...but she doesn't have any family. Her husband died last year. Please! She shouldn't be alone." She begged.
The fireman looked around quickly then gave in, "Hop in!" He said opening the back of the ambulance for her, "If anyone asks, you're her niece."
Few hours later at Staten Island University Hospital, Mrs. Baker was doing much better. As she waited for the doctor with Mrs. Baker's discharge papers she was surprised to see that same fireman standing at the nurses station filling out paperwork. He looked up and noticed her right away, "Don't ever do something like that again!" He barked.
"Do what?" She questioned.
"Try and run into a burning building, you could have gotten yourself killed!" He exclaimed.
"But I didn't." She argued, "What was I supposed to do?"
"Call us, we will handle it." He said. "I'm serious, please don't do something like that again."
"Thank you for saving her life today." She said with the deepest gratitude to this man. Granted she had only been in New York for a couple weeks but her aunt's neighbor had been nothing but sweet to her. After having an awful breakup back home in Colorado, her aunt Joyce had been kind enough to offer her a summer in New York. It was the perfect place to escape to and forget about her asshole ex boyfriend.
"Your welcome." He smiled at her.
As she walked away she heard him call out to her, "Boyfriend?" He asked.
"I'm sorry?" She said turning back around.
"Do you have one? Because if you don't I'd really like to take you out?" He responded.
Without answering she walked back to the nurses station, stole a pen and piece of paper and jotted down her number, "Call me fireboy."
It was an amazing three months and the two had been obsessed with one another since the first date. Now here they were on their last night together before she left for the airport very early in the morning. He had to be at the firehouse early so unfortunately wouldn't even get to see her off.
The fire outside was dying down and after kissing on the deck they decided to move things upstairs. Shirts, shoes, pants, and undergarments were shed with each step. As they busted through his bedroom door he shoved her onto the bed and licked his lips at her naked body. "What you got on your mind fireboy?" She teased.
Without answering he attacked her neck kissing each and every spot not wanting to forget her taste, "You're so beautiful." He whispered as he worked his way down.
"More baby please." She begged wiggling from side to side underneath him.
He took one breast in his mouth and teased it with his tongue causing her nipple to harden instantly. "Tell her how you feel, you idiot!" He was screaming at himself internally.
He reached down between her legs and moaned at the wetness he felt, "So fucking good." He growled as he began moving his tongue inside of her.
She bucked her hips up to meet his mouth, something he became obsessed with, he chuckled at how impatient she was. As he repeatedly flicked her center with his tongue and bit down gently on her clit, he was having a battle in his head, Will you stay? Just fucking ask her! Don't go home, stay here and be with me!
She was moaning underneath him begging for him to fuck her. "I want you baby please!"
He couldn't deny her anymore and after ripping a condom open and sliding it over himself he entered her roughly, just how she liked it. "Your so the tight baby, so fucking tight." He didn't want this night to end, he fucked her until they were both completely exhausted but satisfied. A worn out used condom thrown on the floor.
She laid on his chest playing softly with his coarse chest hairs. "I'm gonna miss this so much."
"Me too baby, me too." He sighed. You don't have to miss anything, you idiot! Ask her to stay, tell her you love her. Say it! He kept screaming in his heand over and over again.
But he never said it, and a few hours later he watched as the woman of his dreams left his apartment for the last time. "You're a damn fool Quinn." He said out loud as he watched her car disappear over the hill and out of his life for good.
A/N:New BQ story I hope people enjoy. Special thanks to two new friends; SecretCharlotte and TinyInkStainedBird for their advice and ideas. Hopefully you ladies liked how I started!!
Chapter 2: What are your doing Here?
5 years later
Brian Quinn sat upstairs in front of the camera monitors staring at his phone. He knew he wanted to do something tonight but just wasn't sure what, he strolled through his phone seeing what girl he could call for a night of fun. Impractical Jokers was entering its 4th season and was extremely successful. He had officially retired from the fire department a few months ago, and it was a decision he still struggled with to this day. As lucky as he was, sometimes he regretted the choices he made leading up to this moment.
Brian had just finished his turn and next up was Sal. Typically after one Joker goes they have to wait for time to pass and new people to enter before sending the next Joker out. Today they were filming at a library. "I think you should be set to head down Sal." One of the producers called over.
As Joe, Murray, and Brian waited for Sal to get downstairs and ready they chatted about the upcoming tour and other work related topics. "Guys ready for me?" Sal called over his mic.
"Ready bud." Murr called out. The remaining three guys stood up so they could see the monitors and watch as Sal walked around the library looking for a mark. "I can try this guy over here." He said looking at the man with the backwards Yankees cap on, "Nevermind he just got up." Sal then looked at two college girls studying in the corner, "They might be good. Or maybe not, they look busy, probably studying I shouldn't interrupt."
"Oh Sal for Christ Sakes..."Brian huffed annoyingly through the mic, "You do this everytime, just pick someone." He then look over everyone in view of the camera to pick someone for him, "Girl in the pink sweater...." he then stopped immediately as he looked closer. He felt his heart drop into his stomach, "No way..." he whispered out loud to himself, "No fucking way!" He then yanked out his earphones and took off running.
"Q! Where you goin?!" Murray yelled after him.
"Q! Q! Come back!" Joe yelled. He then grabbed the mic, "Sal, Q is headed your way. I don't know why."
30 seconds later, Sal saw his friend running the down the main staircase booking it in the room he was in. He didn't have time to even react when he saw him go straight for the girl in pink sweater and tap her on the shoulder, "Juliette?" He asked.
"Yes?" She responded turning around. When she laid eyes on him, her heart immediately skipped a beat, "Brian Quinn..." she said, the look of shock evident on her face.
"What are you doing here?" He asked now smiling at the one girl he let get away. So many times he would replay that summer in his mind and still hate himself for not stopping her or telling her how he truly felt about her.
Joe,Murr, and a few other crew members had made their way downstairs and stood with Sal watching Q talk to this mystery woman. They knew she looked familiar, they just couldn't place her.
Meanwhile Juliette was frozen as this man stood in front of her. She couldn't think, she couldn't speak. Shaking the cobwebs from her head she realized he asked her a questions, "Umm..sorry" she stumbled, "I Umm..moved here just last week."
"Really?? That's fantastic, are you Umm..seeing anyone? I would love to catch up sometime." He asked hoping to God that she was single.
"Well I um.."she stuttered, "I don't know if..."
Suddenly the pair was interrupted by a little voice, "Mommy?" A little brown haired boy said grabbing Juliette's hand.
"Mommy?" Brian repeated in shock.
"Sweetie one second I'm just talking to someone. Go back to the children's section." She ordered trying to get her son out of here.
Levi Dawson was not one to be ignored and insisted that his Mommy listen to him, "But Mommy I wanna check out this book." He said holding up a paperback book.
As Brian watched Juliette argue with the little boy his facial expression changed from shock to utter disbelief. His stomach started to turn, his palms began to sweat, and his head was spinning. As Brian looked at this little boy he realized he looked way too familiar. The dark hair, the shape of his face, the chocolate eyes. "Oh my god." He said in horror.
Juliette could tell by her former lover's face that he figured it out. "Levi, please go back in the children's room!" She said in panic.
"Ok ok." The little boy grumbled as he walked away.
Brian and Juliette just stared at one another for what felt like eternity. Finally Brian broke the silence as he pulled her by the arm, "Unfuckingbeliveable" he muttered still trying to be mindful that they were in a library around so many people.
Juliette figured the best course of action was to say nothing and follow up a staircase. Once they reached the top he shouted, "How old is he?!"
Juliette didn't answer at first, just stared at the floor in shame. "Juliette!" He shouted, his voice echoing through the aisles of books.
"He'll be five in a few months." She said softly still refusing to look at him.
By this time, everyone from the crew was listening since Brian was still mic'ed and the other Jokers were half way up the staircase in just had much shock as their friend was.
Brian didn't even have to do out the math to come to the conclusion, he knew it in his heart. "Who's his father Juliette?" He whispered in complete disbelief. When she didn't answer right away he started getting even more angry, "Juliette!" He said through gritted teeth. "Say it!"
She finally looked up making eye contact with him, took a deep breath and spoke, "A fireman from New York."
Actually hearing the words took the breath out of Brian, he felt like someone had just punched him in the gut. He fell back onto a computer chair causing it to roll back with his sudden weight. "Where does he think his father is?" He asked placing his head down into his hands.
"Its complicated Brian." She responded.
Brian let out a sarcastic laugh and then looked up at her, "What's so complicated about it? Doesn't he ask?"
"Its not important!" She snapped doing anything she could to change to subject. Juliette was determined to not cry in front of this man, she held as strong as she could. "Listen to me I told myself everyday that I was gonna call you and tell you but everytime I went to do it, I just couldn't."
"Why the fuck not?!" He snapped.
"Because Brian, I was some stupid summer hookup. Someone you never thought you'd hear from again. That was evident when I never heard from you after I left." She said still bitter that he never once tried to reach out after she had left.
"I didn't think you wanted me to. You were very clear you didn't want a long distance thing." He said recalling the battle he had everyday for months about not calling her. "But that doesn't excuse what you've done!"
"I know, I understand that." She then felt the dam break and the tears were not being held back anymore, "Everyday I hate myself. Since day one I've done everything to love him and protect him..."she said through tears, "and to know I've been keep this huge secret from him kills me everyday." She took a second to compose herself. "Then I finally mustered up the courage to call you and I was planning on doing it but then I turned the TV on and saw you and that's when I knew I lost my chance."
"What does that mean?" He asked annoyingly.
"I couldn't call then and drop this bomb on you. Be some random fling and try to pin a kid on you, I couldn't be that person Brian." She said.
Brian stood up and began pacing the floor, never in his life could he recall a time he was so angry with someone, "So because of your selfish choices, I missed out on the first 5 years of his life and he's lived thinking his father wanted nothing to do with him!"
The two stared at one another, neither speaking, neither knowing what to think or say. "So what now?" He asked putting his hands up.
"We can just forget you saw us." She said.
"Don't put this on me Juliette! Don't make me the bad guy in all this. I woke up this morning thinking it was a normal fucking day, not thinking I would be meeting a child that I didn't even know was on the planet!" He spat.
"It's not that simple Brian, you can't just blow into his life like its nothing." She argued, "You always said you never wanted kids, he doesn't know who you are."
"You really think I can do that?!" He exclaimed, "Go on living my life knowing I have a son? You really think I'm some kinda asshole?"
She knew this wasn't fair, she couldn't do this to him. No matter the choices she made in life, her son had a right to know his father and Brian had a right to know his son. Juliette reached into her bag pulling out a piece of paper and a pen. She jotted down her number and handed it to him, "Give me a couple days and then we will try and figure this out."
"Couple days for what?!" He called after her. But it was no use, Brian shoved the number in his pocket and watched as she walked away. His friends stepped back letting her walk down the stairs then stared at their friend. After a moment he stood up and walked over to the banister looking down. He saw her walk into the Children's Room and few seconds later walk out hand in hand with a child, his child. His eyes didn't leave them until they walked out the door.
He leaned against the railing taking a few deep breaths. This was the time his friends jumped into action coming to their friend's aid. "What do I do?" He asked them. None of them had an answer so all four men sat in silence together as Brian realized his life would never be the same.
Chapter 3: Photos from the Past
It had been 2 days since Brian got the biggest shock of his life. He hadn't slept, every time he went to eat he felt nauseous, he was useless at work; his entire world felt like it had flipped upside down. After leaving the library that day he did something he hadn't done in years, he called his brothers for advice. He never liked to bother them since they were busy with their own lives but right now he needed them more than ever.
Jimmy and Danny Quinn could tell by their brother's voice that something was wrong and after work were at his front door. They were shocked and a little upset that they had a nephew that was a complete stranger. After sitting with Brian for over an hour it was decided to wait by the phone until she called and then go from there. After a little persuading, Brian was able to convince them to keep it a secret from their parents for a little while longer. Their grandchildren were their lives, the brothers knew they were going to take this hard.
Finally after 48 long hours, Brian's phone rang. She asked him if he would like to come over and talk, he accepted and decided that his anger towards her would have to be put on hold for the moment. A text came through from her shortly after they spoke with her address in Oakwood Beach, 15 minutes from his house. He couldn't believe they were living just 15 minutes away from his front door and she had no intentions of actually tell him.
After five long years, Brian got in his car and drove to Juliette. This time being much different than the first time he had driven to her, of course then she was a young woman hiding from the world staying with her aunt for the summer. For different reasons, Brian's nerves were just as pumped as they were back then
Getting out of his 1999 Toyota Camry, Brian felt his palms sweat. He had just finished a 72 hour shift at the firehouse but sleep was the last thing on his mind. The girl from the hospital yesterday kept running through this mind and after going home to shower, shave, and change his clothes he was now walking up her driveway about to approach the front door.
Quickly glancing over to the house next door, the damage from the fire yesterday wasn't as bad as it could have been. People really didn't understand the danger of candles but as bad as he felt about a woman's house almost burning down he did get a date with a gorgeous girl out of it.
He waited a few moments after knocking before it flew open and a beautiful petite brunette answered the door. She was only wearing jeans and a Denver Broncos T-shirt but Brian was positive he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. "Hi!" She smiled sweetly, "Come on in!"
"My aunt's away for the day so I made some snacks and thought we could just chill in the living room if that's okay." She explained.
"Sounds good to me." He smiled taking a seat on the white couch.
They chatted for a little bit, Juliette talking about her decision to drop everything and spend the summer in New York helping her aunt at her art studio and Brian talked a bit about the fire department and a side improv group him and his friends did for fun.
"Wanna rent a movie?" She asked after they had exhausted the conversations about themselves.
"Sure." He smiled grabbing the remote from the coffee table. He began scrolling through all the titles and stopped on something that looked of interest. "I heard this was really good."
"Haunting on Winchester Hill?" She read. The look of the cover was of a creepy doll head with an old abandoned looking house in the background, "I'm not much of a scary movie person." She smiled shyly.
"Oh come on!" He joked, "Getting scared is the best." He teased.
"Fine!" She caved, "But if I get nightmares tonight, I'm calling you and you'll have to stay on the phone with me all night."
"Could think of worse ways to spend my night." He winked as he hit the button to order the film.
20 minutes into the movie and Juliette was already scared shitless, she knew she should have pushed for a comedy. Brian began to catch on that she wasn't enjoying the movie like he'd hope but instead of shutting it off he figured he'd try something else first. Scooting over he put his arm around her and pulled her close, since she didn't pull away he figured it was a good sign.
Meanwhile Juliette was dying inside. The feeling of his strong muscular arms around her caused her heart to race . She leaned her head down onto his shoulder and took a second to inhale his scent which was aftershave with a hint of smoke from perhaps the fire yesterday. It wasn't overpowering, it was actually kinda sexy; a reminder that he saved people's lives everyday.
Suddenly the movie wasn't important to either one of them because Brian's attention was now directed on something else. With her snuggled into him he took a chance, leaned his face down close to hers and kissed her gently. It took no time at all for Juliette to return the favor but this time kiss him a little harder. After breaking apart he smiled, "Hi." He whispered.
"Hi." She whispered snuggling back into his protective body.
Brian knocked on the door to a very nice townhouse. The door opened revealing Juliette smiling sadly. "Hi." She greeted softly.
"Hi." He responded.
"Come on in." She said stepping back so he could enter the house. "Thank you for giving me some time to process how to approach this."
"Well sure, I mean you had five years, What was a few more days, right." He said sarcastically.
Juliette stopped walking and turned to face him, "Look I understand you're upset about this and I'm not saying you don't have a right but if this is gonna work we need to somewhat be on the same page."
"Sorry." Brian grumbled as he continued following her into the dining room.
They sat at the table and were silent for a minute. Staring at one another, both unaware that the other was reliving the summer they shared so many years ago. "Where is Levi?" Brian asked breaking the silence.
"With my aunt, I thought we should talk privately first. She's supposed to be dropping him off soon." Juliette answered. "Just wish I knew where to start." She laughed awkwardly.
"Me too." Brian agreed.
"I guess I'm wondering how involved you wanna be, if you do wanna be involved that is." She asked.
"I never pictured myself with a kid but now that I know that I have one I guess I wanna be a part of his life." Brian said.
"You guess?" Juliette questioned.
"Look give me a break I just found out I was a father a little over 24 hours ago." Brian snapped.
It wasn't like Juliette didn't understand his frustration but she was expecting a little more enthusiasm on his part. She reached behind her picking up a photo album and handed it to him. "Whats this?" He asked.
"Pretty much a whole documentary of his life. Day he was born, first steps, first time on a bike, first day of school..."she explained.
"Basically all things a father should have been there for." He barked.
"This would be a lot easier if you would stop snapping at me!" She shouted, "I regret not telling you everyday but I can't go back and change it, we can only move forward."
Brian let out a long sigh, "You're right." He then opened the album and began studying each picture. Brian was still in shock over how much this little boy looked like him. "No DNA test needed for this kid." He stated with a small chuckle.
"I've been thinking about that and if you wanted one, I wouldn't be insulted. I'd understand." She immediately said.
"Jules, that was a joke. It's like looking in a mirror seeing him." He said catching her glance and offering her the first sincere smile since he found out.
"It's scary sometimes." She agreed. "I would love to compare your baby pictures to his and see for myself."
"I'm sure my mom has some I can have." He answered still flipping through page after page of photos.
"She must be upset as well." Juliette said looking down in sadness.
"Haven't told her yet but that's certainly not gonna be an easy conversation." Brian replied.
Juliette had met the Quinns a couple times over that summer and they were always nothing but wonderful to her. "I'm sorry Brian." She chocked out.
Brian looked at this woman, the mother of his child, someone who he didn't have the guts to express his love to years ago. "Jules..."He sighed, "I'm never gonna understand why you didn't tell me but we need to move forward from that, okay?" He then placed his hand over hers as a way of extending the olive branch to her.
After a few seconds she pulled her hand back and seemed a little spooked. He wasn't sure what he did wrong, after all he was the one that should be upset here, not her, but he let it go for now. "So what's he like? Feel like I should know a little about him before seeing him."
Juliette than smiled thinking of her little boy, "Well he's smart, like really smart. And I'm not just saying that because that's what all parents say about their kids. He started reading before he was three. His kindergarten teacher back in Colorado started giving him 1st and 2nd grade work to challenge him a bit. Not much of a sports kid though."
"That's alright, just because he's a boy doesn't mean he has to like sports." Brian defended, "Besides can't really blame the kid growing up around the Broncos." He laughed remembering how much Juliette loved her Denver Broncos.
"Oh really?!" She shot back playfully, "And how ya Giants doing this season?"
"Not their best but don't you worry about the Giants!" He exclaimed, feeling good to laugh with her again.
Juliette than went on to describe their son a little more and how he was obsessed with animals, something that warmed Brian's heart right away. "So if I'm gonna get him any toys, what would he really like?" Brian asked.
"You don't have to, honestly he has plenty Brian." She tried to explained.
"He's my kid, I got 5 years to try and catch up on, I'd like to buy him some toys at least." Brian argued.
"You really wanna know?" She said with a smirk and half cocked eyebrow. "Superheroes."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" he laughed.
"I swear to God." She laughed along with him. "I don't even know where he got it. One day he came home and I asked if he wanted Scooby Doo for his birthday party and he said Scooby Doo was for babies and he wanted a Batman party."
Brian couldn't believe the chances that his child that he had never met a day in life, shared the same interest as he did. "Well he's right, compared to Batman, Scooby Doo is pretty lame."
Juliette rolled her eyes, "Must be something in that Quinn blood of yours." she joked.
What she had just said caused Brian to stop laughing and truly take in that this little boy shared his blood. Levi was his son.
The pair was interrupted by the sound of someone entering the house. Brian rose to his feet expecting it to be Levi but was confused when he saw a man he did not recognize.
Juliette got up as well and walked over to the man, "Hi honey, this is..." she started the introduction but was immediately interrupted.
"I know who he is. I'm David Miller." he said sticking his hand out to Brian, "Juliette's boyfriend."
"Brian just got here. I was just showing him pictures of Levi." Juliette explained. Picking up where he and Juliette had left off was certainly the last thing on Brian's mind but he had to admit knowing she was in a relationship didn't feel well at all. However all he could do was shake his hand and play nice. "David moved with Levi and I from Colorado." Juliette continued.
"Where is Levi?" David asked.
"With Auntie Mary, she should be dropping him off any minute." Juliette answered.
"You explained to him that we don't want Levi knowing right away?" David asked.
If there was one thing that Brian couldn't stand it was someone talking about it like he wasn't in the room, "Not knowing what right away?" Brian spoke up, "And I do speak English ya know." he added sarcastically.
David rolled his eyes at the comment, "We don't want Levi getting confused or upset with a bunch of information all at once. We decided it was best to ease into it."
"We?" Brian questioned in an annoyingly tone, "Well considering he is our son, that should be something Jules and I should discuss." Brian barked back.
"And considering that I have been in this child's life since he was two years old, I think I have a little more say than some sperm donor." David spat.
"What did you just call me?!" Brian's temper was now starting to flare.
Juliette sensed tension was much too high and needed to put a stop to it immediately, both of these men had valid points, "Enough! Both of you!" Juliette yelled, "Now as the mother of that little boy, I will be making the decisions, we do this my way or no way!" Both men fell quiet seeing how upset Juliette was getting. "David, Brian is his father and has every right to get to know him and spend as much time with him as he would like to. And Brian, we will tell Levi when and how I decide. Do both of you understand me?!" she asked sharply.
Suddenly all three adults heard the front door open again but this time it was a dark haired little boy that ran inside. "Mommy!" He exclaimed running to Juliette but then stopped short when he saw Brian, "Hey, I know you. You're the man from the library."
Chapter 4: Bonding Over Batman
The hearts of all three adults stopped the second the dark haired boy entered the kitchen. Brian finally cleared his throat and knelt down in front of the boy. Being even closer to him than before, Brian had a chance to really examine his face. His dark eyes were identical to his own and the way the boy's wavy hair fell just short of his eyes made Brian remember his mother pestering him to get a haircut so many times growing up. Even the shape of his little face looked like his own.
"I was at the library, you have a good memory." Brian said kindly to the little boy.
"Why are you here?" Levi asked.
"Well I um...I was friends with your mom a long time ago and she invited me over to catch up a little bit." Brian answered.
David and Juliette were exchanging looks. She could tell by her boyfriend's face that he wasn't happy about this. In her defense she was always honest with him when it came to the identity of Levi's dad. David knew who he was and also that Juliette never told him he had a son; she also meant what she said earlier, Brian had every right to get to know him.
"Hey!" Levi exclaimed, "That's a cool shirt!" He announced happily when he noticed the shirt Brian was wearing. It was his Superman vs. Batman limited edition T-shirt that Walt had to track down for him.
"You like this?" He asked smiling at the young boy.
"Yeah! Superheroes are the best. I have a bunch of toys in the living room, wanna see?!" He asked jumping up and down. Levi had never met an adult that liked superheroes before.
Brian smiled. Juliette was right, their son was absolutely obsessed and he loved it. As Brian followed him into the living room, David and Juliette stayed back and observed what was happening.
"This doesn't feel right, it's gonna crush him if he ever finds out." David whispered to his girlfriend.
"Honey, I don't know what else to do. He has every right to know his son. I was in the wrong, not Brian." Juliette sighed. She always knew deep down her choices would come back and bite her one day.
"So what happens now? Huh, he just slips in and plays father of the year? He knows nothing about him." David argued.
"It's up to Brian to decide what kind of dad he wants to be." Juliette answered. "That's why I don't want Levi finding out right away, Brian's life isn't like ours. He travels all the time and works non stop, he's not gonna be able to see Levi everyday like you and I."
"Exactly..." David said, "He's not gonna be able to give him the attention he should.
Back in the living room, Brian was being dragged around. The little boy sure did have a lot of toys. It seemed like he favored Batman to any other and Brian was mentally trying to think of cool stuff at his house that perhaps Levi had never seen before.
Before long Brian had his son in tears from laughing so hard. He was doing all the different voices from the Joker, to the Penguin, and even attempted a girly voice for Catwoman. David had retreated to his office to take a phone call for work so Juliette stood in the doorway of the living room and looked on. "Mommy, He is so funny! He knows even more about Batman than me." Levi shouted.
"Holy cow!" Juliette exclaimed lovingly to her son. As they continued to play, Juliette and Brian exchanged a glance and with that look she could tell he was all in. He wanted to be as big of a piece of their son's life as he could.
After spending close to an hour on the floor reliving his childhood through the eyes of a boy that belonged to him, Brian decided to call it a night. "Do you have to go?" Levi asked.
"Unfortunately I do." Brian answered as he tossed the boy's dark hair back away from his face. The boy smiled at the gesture. "But we can hang out again if you'd like." Brian smiled.
"Ok! When?!" The little boy asked.
Juliette stepped in, "Brian and I will talk and come up with a day, ok?"
"Ok!" Levi smiled.
"Dinner's almost ready baby. Go clean up the living room and wash up." Juliette ordered her son.
The two adults watched as Levi scurried around putting all his toys in a bin. "Bye buddy, I'll see you soon okay?"
"Okay, bye Brian!" Levi called out.
Juliette started to walk Brian to the door but stopped when something caught her eye. "Here." She said grabbing the photo album they were looking at earlier.
"You sure?" He asked.
"Unfortunately you didn't get that time with him so at least you can have photos from it." She answered sadly.
Brian took the book graciously, "He seems like a really awesome kid. You did great with him Jules." The former couple took a second to smile at one another. Years ago they were so hot and heavy for one another and now they were strangers.
Two days after watching a movie together at her house, Brian had called to see if he could take her out. Juliette was excited all day for their date and must have changed 4 times before deciding on a short black shirt with white polka dots paired with a simple white shirt.
Brian surprised her with a trip into Manhattan. Once dinner was finished they decided to take the night and walk around with no true destination in mind.
They had passed a few boutiques in SoHo and Juliette had stopped for a minute to look into the windows of the closed shops. "God would I love to one day have my own store in New York." Juliette was an aspiring fashion designer and while in New York for the summer signed up for a beginners class at one of the community colleges.
Brian came up from behind her, "One day you will." She smiled at him before they continued walking.
There was this cute little footbridge that overlooked the park and the moon was just coming through the clouds. It was full and bright so they stopped to admire the view. Besides a quick kiss on the cheek when he had picked her up, they hadn't exchanged any other ones since the first day at her house. Brian turned his body and leaned in slowly. Once their lips touched they couldn't stop even if they wanted to.
Brian ran into tongue along her lips as a way of asking for entrance. Juliette immediately granted him that request and she felt his tongue brush against hers. She could taste the wine they had shared. Brian placed his hands on her cheeks as a way of keeping her from pulling back. She had him pushed against the bars of the bridge as her way of telling him that she had zero intentions of moving.
He smiled when he felt the vibrations in her throat from a soft moan she had let out. Finally coming up for air, they pulled back for a second and smiled. "Can I just say, you're really fucking hot." She blurted out.
Brian let out a laugh, "Right back at ya." He responded then pulled her in for another kiss. The two stayed on that bridge for some time kissing, chatting, and enjoying the night.
"Heading out?" David asked coming around the corner.
"Yeah." Brian answered shortly then turned to Juliette again, "I'm outta town for work the next two days but I'll be back Sunday afternoon. Maybe I can see him then?"
"Ok, yeah that sounds good." Juliette answered.
"Levi!" David called out to his girlfriend's son as he was walking to the fridge for a drink.
"How about after dinner, you and I hit the batting cages?" David asked.
The little boy let out a groan, "Do I have to?"
"Come on, it will be fun!" David said trying to convince him.
"But I got this new video game..." Levi argued.
"Can't try out for Little League playing video games Levi. Come on!" David insisted.
"Ok." Levi sighed grabbing a juice box.
Brian didn't like this. It was clear this little boy had no interest in going to the batting cages and this asshole was basically forcing him to. As much as he wanted to say something he couldn't so before he did, Brian slipped out the door.
Few hours later Brian was pounding on Sal's door. When he finally opened it, Brian stood before him soaking wet from the rain outside.
"I have a son!" Brian exclaimed.
"Yes you do." Sal simply agreed standing back to let his friend in. Brian made his way through the front hall on his way to the kitchen. "DUDE! Sal shouted, "Seriously? Fucking shoes bro!"
Brian rolled his eyes at his friend's OCD having zero boundaries even at a time like this. He kicked his sneakers off and tossed them towards the door. "I have a fucking kid!" Brian repeated.
Sal could tell by his friend's demeanor that he was pretty drunk and clearly upset but didn't say anything when he saw Brian pour himself a shot from his liquor cabinet. Brian threw the shot back welcoming the burning sensation going down his throat. It was then that he pulled something from his backpack. He placed the photo album that he received from Juliette on Sal's kitchen counter. "Look at this! Look!" Brian yelled when Sal didn't rush over like he wanted.
Sal scurried over to the counter and flipped through the pages. "An entire life that I helped create but know nothing about!" Brian shouted.
Sal knew Brian a long time and one thing that was important to know was when he was this upset, there was no talking to him until he calmed down. "Deep breaths man." As Brian attempted to calm himself down, Sal grabbed his friend a bottle of water from the fridge. He then went back to flipping through the photos while Brian downed the water.
"He does look just like you, so crazy." Sal said.
"Guess what his favorite thing in the whole world is." Brian said. When Sal didn't answer, Brian said it, "Superheroes." Sal's jaw dropped in shock. His best friend was more than obsessed with everything having to do with superheroes, it was insane that somehow his child was as well.
"We sat on the floor for over an hour playing with all his toys. It was..." Brian started to say.
"It was what?" Sal asked when Brian didn't finish his thought.
"It was both the strangest but most natural experience of my life. Like I'm not good with kids, never have been, but sitting with a kid that is mine felt like I should have been doing it his whole life." Brian explained.
Sal smiled sadly at his friend. Brian Quinn made it very clear his entire adult life that he never wanted a child. And Brian was right, he wasn't good with them. He was awkward and sometimes got incredibly annoyed with them. "So what's he like?" Sal asked.
"Sal, he's really a great kid, so enthusiastic about the littlest things, and smart. God is he fucking smart. Juliette said his teachers are giving him stuff well beyond kindergarten."
He then went on to tell Sal about David and how he really didn't like the guy. Sal tried to see where David was coming from. "Q, I mean it's gotta be pretty weird for him too, helping raise another man's child for years and then having the real dad come back into the picture."
Brian shot his friend a dirty look, "Back in the picture insinuates I was in the picture in the first place! But I didn't get that fucking chance did I?!"
"Woah woah, I didn't say that. I'm on your side Q." Sal said putting his hands up on defense.
Brian slumped down into a chair in defeat, "I'm still so fucking mad at her man."
"You have every right to be buddy." Sal said.
"I'm also mad at at myself, like if I had called her after she left, things would probably be so different."
"Can't think like that Q. You'll drive yourself crazy playing the what if game." Sal responded.
Brian laid his hand back and rubbed his hand over his face a few times. "Think I can crash here tonight? Probably shouldn't have driven over here in the first place."
"Couch always has your name on it Bud." Sal responded and got up to get his friend a pillow and blanket. "Q?" Sal said turning around.
"Sup?" Brian asked feeling like a broken version of himself, not knowing which was the right path to take.
"Everything is gonna work out ya know." Sal smiled. "You have a son, pretty damn cool if you ask me."
Brian smiled...yeah he had a son.
Chapter 5: Park Benches and Fire Trucks
Brian stood outside the entrance to the playground. He took the redeye flight home late last night to make sure he was home for the afternoon. After two shows last night he was pretty tired but Jules had texted him and said they were going to be playing at the park before lunch and he could join if he was around.
He paced back and forth waiting for them. The park wasn't far from him house so he decided to skip the car and walk over. Jimmy had called him earlier and was harping on the fact that Brian hadn't told his parents about their mysterious grandson. Brian assured his brother that he would be telling them soon but he just wanted to figure out a plan before dropping a huge bomb on them. In frustration Jimmy ended the call because even though it was a sucky situation for Brian, it effected the rest of the family as well.
After waiting for several minutes, Brian finally saw figures walking towards him that resembled Juliette and Levi. A bit of relief came over Brian when it seemed like they were alone. He wasn't in the mood to play nice with Juliette's boyfriend. Even though Brian kept telling himself the guy wasn't a threat and hadn't done anything wrong, he didn't care for David at all.
As they got closer walking up the gravel path, Levi let go of his mother's hand and ran off towards Brian. "Hi Brian!" He shouted.
"Sup Bud?!" Brian greeted with a huge smile on his face. When Levi's little legs finally reached Brian, the man put his hand out for a casual high five. Levi jumped to slap his hand as he giggled. "Mommy said you would be here!"
"Here I am!" Brian smiled.
"Woah cool park!" Levi said looking past Brian at the play structure behind them.
"Go play baby." Juliette told her son as she caught up to him and his father. She didn't have to tell him twice because Levi was quickly taking off for the slides. Juliette took a deep breath in and looked up to Brian, "Thanks for coming. He was really excited when I told him."
"Of course. Sorry I was out of town the last couple days or I would have saw him sooner." He responded as he led them over to a bench close by so they could keep an eye on their son. Brian smiled as he watched Levi find a friend and run around with the other little boy. He could hear him talking, "Ok let's be dragons!" Levi said to the kid. "High up on this rock looking down on town!"
Brian couldn't help but laugh as he watch Levi play, "He sure has a big imagination." He said to Juliette.
"Oh my God, you have no idea!" She said joining in on the laughter. Their son was so full of life and was constantly pretending to be all these different characters. They were silent for a moment, the tension was starting to feel awkward, the lost years starting to be remembered and putting a black cloud over the mood. "So..." Juliette started, "TV huh?"
"Yeah..." Brian answered letting out a sigh, "Kinda just fell into it. Definitely wasn't part of any plan I had."
"Well you're definitely good at it." She complimented.
"Really not that hard, just acting like a jackass on television, anyone can do it." Brian responded.
"Don't sell yourself short, it's a really good show." Juliette insisted.
"Does they mean you've watched it?" He asked raising his eyebrow and glancing at her from the corner of his eye with a smirk on his face.
"I may or may not watch it every week." She smiled back. Brian knew he shouldn't have done it but his naturally flirty instincts towards her so many years ago kicked in and he winked at her as he bit down on the corner of his lip.
Juliette's entire body went hot when she saw the look that this man used to give her so many years ago. She knew it was wrong but her mind suddenly flashed back thinking of all the times she got that look from him and how it used to cause her to pounce on him no matter where they were.
Brian was exhausted. They had been out for the last 12 hours helping another department get a fire under control on the other side of Staten Island. It was his turn to check all the tanks and make sure they were full and ready for their next call. As he went down the line checking the air in them all, he heard his favorite voice call out to him.
"Hey there fireboy." Juliette called out from the opened garage door.
Brian stopped his task and walked over picking her up making her squeal in delight. "Hi Gorgeous." He said bending his neck to kiss her.
Juliette picked the container up that she had placed down before and handed it to Brian, "I made meatballs, thought maybe you'd like some."
"Mmm... you're a lifesaver. Haven't eaten since yesterday." Brian said graciously taking it. He gave her another kiss, "Thanks Jules."
"Were you at a fire last night?" She asked.
"Yeah." Brian said, "Just got back about an hour ago. It was a fucking wreck down there too."
Juliette ran her fingers through his hair and looked in his eyes. He definitely looked exhausted but he still looked so sexy. The fact that this is what he did for a living turned her on to no end. "Well I'm happy you're back safe and sound."
"Always am." Brian responded with a wink and very slowly bit down on his bottom lip.
Don't do that!" She giggled playfully hitting his chest.
"Do what?" He asked smiling at her.
"Look at me like that, you look so hot." She whispered, not knowing if anyone else was around. The pair had been casually seeing each other for a couple weeks now and over that time had been intimate more than a few times and it was safe to say Brian Quinn was more than amazing in the bedroom.
"Oh yeah?" Brian teased as he brought his lips down to connect to hers. Juliette softly moaned into his kiss as his tongue found hers. After a minute, he pulled away and growled in frustration. "I can't believe I have another 24 hours of this shift. I want you so bad." It was then that a little lightbulb went off in his head. "Come here." he said pulling her around the other side of the firetruck.
"Step up." he instructed pointing to the stairs that led inside the truck. "Right there." Brian stopped her at the third metal step. He then pushed her down to lower her to sit.
"What are you doin'?!" Juliette exclaimed when she felt Brian start to slide his hand up her dress. "Are you crazy?!"
"Crazy about you." He smiled, "Everyone's upstairs relax baby."
"Brian, no!" she protested trying to push his backwards but the second his fingers found the inside of her panties there was no use in arguing. "Oh baby..." She moaned in a whisper. "Fuck that feels so good."
"Jesus Jules, already so wet. I don't even have to get you ready." Brian stated feeling her wetness between his fingertips.
"Ready for what?" she whimpered with her eyes closed.
"My dick." he whispered against her ear.
Juliette's eyes shot open, "You can't fuck me inside a firetruck!"
"Shhh..." she hushed her putting his finger to her lips. Automatically her tongue dove out and she could taste herself on his finger. He then pulled his pants down a bit so he could get himself out of his boxers and lined up at her entrance. Having known her now for a couple weeks, it didn't take long for Brian to figure out that sometimes Juliette liked to overthink things so he figured he better act quickly before she second guessed this.
"Jesus Christ!" she exclaimed but then quickly bit down on Brian's shoulder to quiet herself. His shirt was a little damp from water and sweat and left the taste of smoke in her mouth but she didn't care right now. She was experiencing the hottest moment of her life courtesy of this man. A man that hadn't been in her life long but already dominated her every thought and fantasy.
Brian held onto the step behind Juliette for support and continued to pound into her over and over again. "Fuck baby, so good. So tight Jules." he whispered against her flesh.
Juliette had her arms wrapped around his neck so tight as he continued to make her cum again and again. She saw the look in his eyes and the tightening of his face gave away the fact that he was ready. Juliette had been on birth control forever so it was even a second thought anymore when he told her he was close. "Do it baby. God you're so fucking amazing."
"Shit Jules...." Brian moaned as he released.
"Fuck that was incredible." Brian muttered as he rested his forehead on hers.
She let out a laugh once she processed what they had just done. "You are absolutely insane." Brian smiled but the moment was cut short when they were interrupted by a loud voice.
"QUINN!" Chief Gallows yelled coming down the stairs. "Quinn, where you at?!"
"Right here Chief!" Brian answered once he zipped his pants up and made sure Juliette's dress was straight. He grabbed her by the hand and came around the other side of the truck.
"Oh hello." Chief Gallows greeted the young woman standing before him. "Quinn, who's this?"
"Forgive me Chief, this is my girlfriend, Juliette, she just came by to bring me lunch and had never seen a truck up close before. I was just showing her the inside."
Juliette's heart fluttered when she heard Brian introduce her as his girlfriend.
"Very nice to meet you, Miss." Chief Gallows said shaking her hand.
"Pleasure is all mine, Sir." Juliette smiled, "I apologize keeping Brian from his job. I just wanted to drop off some food for him.
"Nonsense!" he exclaimed, "You are welcomed here anytime, although we may have to get your head examined if you're dating this one." the Chief joked.
"Thank you, Sir!" Juliette smiled, "But I should be going. It was so nice to meet you." She then turned to Brian, "Call me when you get home tomorrow." As she started to walk away, she turned back around, "Hey Fireboy!" she called out. "Thanks for the tour." she said with a wink before scurrying out of the firehouse.
Brian smiled as he watched her walk away, taking a moment to admire her perfectly shaped ass in that dress.
"That's some girl Quinn." Chief Gallows said slapping him on the back.
"Don't I know it Chief." Brian responded now more eager than ever to get these next 24 hours over with.
"Levi!" Juliette called out noticing her son was getting a little too worked up and starting a coughing fit. "Come over here!" Brian watched as she dug through her bag then pulled out an inhaler. Levi was still coughing a lot when he got over to the bench. "Here." she said handing him the inhaler, "Deep breaths." She instructed. Brian continued to watch as the little boy took a few puffs. His breathing then began to slow down and the coughing finally stopped.
"Take it easy. You know when you run really fast it works up your asthma." Juliette said rubbing her sons back.
"I know." Levi sighed, "We were just having fun being dragons. They run really fast ya know!"
"I know that." Juliette said making sure to play along with her son, "Just take a little dragon break if you feel a lot of coughing is about to happen. Okay?"
"Okay." The little boy promised before heading back over to play.
"Asthma huh?" Brian questioned when Levi was out of earshot.
"Yeah, doctors say he should grow out of it." Juliette explained, "But until then he has his inhaler and breathing treatments twice a month with a specialist."
"So probably not the best idea for him to be playing baseball.." Brian mentioned.
Juliette sighed, "You caught that did ya?"
"Yeah I caught it." Brian answered, "And I don't think its right to push any activity onto a kid that clearly doesn't wanna do it."
"Neither do I." Juliette said.
"So then why don't you tell your boyfriend to lay off?!" Brian snapped.
"He's not doing it to be mean, David is just really into sports and I guess wants Levi to be too." she responded trying to defend her boyfriend but if she was being honest she didn't like that he pushed it on her son.
"That's for Levi to decide, plus if he has asthma its probably not the best idea having him running on a field." Brian said sternly. It was odd but it was almost as if his inner parent was poking through defending his child.
"You're right." Juliette agreed, making a note to talk to David about that later. Suddenly she was startled by her phone ringing. "Hello?" she answered. "No that meeting was tomorrow...well I can't be there now...they are flying out tonight?....fine, I'm on my way." Juliette hung up her phone looking very frustrated.
"I'm sorry but I gotta go. It's a work thing." Juliette apologized. She then took her phone out again, "I'm gonna have to see if David can cancel his meeting and take Levi for the afternoon." she sighed.
Brian raised his hand up to take the phone out of her hand. The touch between the two sent a jolt through her body, one she hadn't felt in years. It was a spark that she knew was still there but one she also had to ignore. "Or I could just watch him." Brian suggested.
"Oh...ummm...I don't know." Juliette stuttered.
"Why not?!" Brian asked, "I'm his father."
"I know, its just are you gonna be okay with him?" Juliette asked.
"He's 5 years old, how hard can it be? We'll hang out here for a little while longer and then we can walk back to my house and hang until you're ready to come get him." Brian said.
"You're sure?" she questioned.
"Jules, he's my son. Let me spend some time with him, just the two of us." Brian said.
"Levi!" Juliette called out.
"What?!" he responded in a very annoyed tone, "I'm not coughing anymore!" Brian couldn't help but laugh at the attitude the boy was giving having been interrupted by his mom yet again.
"Get your butt over here now!" Juliette yelled across the park.
"I promise I wasn't coughing." The little boy whined when he walked over for the second time.
"I know, I know." his mother answered, "Listen, I got called into work. Did you wanna hang out with Brian for the afternoon until I can come pick you up later?"
Levi looked towards Brian and smiled, "Ok!"
Juliette knelt down in front of her son to give him a hug and a kiss, "You do everything he says, okay? Please be good."
"We'll be cool, right?" Brian asked putting his fist out to pound knuckles with the boy.
"Right!" Levi answered.
Juliette turned to Brian, "I shouldn't be too long. Just text me your address and I'll come right afterwards to get him."
"No rush." Brian said, "I have nothing to do for the rest of the day."
"Ok." Juliette said picking up her bag to dig through it. "You have my cell, call me with any problems, and here's his inhaler. He shouldn't need it but if he does just give him three puffs."
"Got it." Brian responded putting it in his pocket.
"Not a lot of sugar or he won't sleep tonight." Juliette said, "Oh and gluten because sometimes I find it upsets his stomach."
"Okay Jules." Brian said.
Juliette turned around again, "OH! And no soda, I don't let him drink soda and TV is fine but obviously nothing over PG-13."
"Jules!" Brian yelled but couldn't help but laugh, "GO! No Pepsi of dirty movies, I got this."
"Haha, very funny!" Juliette said sticking her tongue out at him knowing he must think she was one of those crazy moms.
Brian literally couldn't remember a time that he had so much fun. After Levi had exhausted the park, they took a walk to the pond and looked for turtles and frogs. Levi was having a blast turning rocks over trying to find them. Then they walked back to the house. Everytime they came to a crosswalk, the little boy would hold tight to Brian's hand and it gave him such a warm feeling knowing this boy, his son, had so much trust in him.
Thank God for mac and cheese because Brian had no idea what to feed a kid so was grateful he had a box of that kicking around his cabinets. After eating, Levi was off exploring all the cool things in the house. "You have more toys than me!" Levi exclaimed when he saw all of Brian's collectables scattered around the house. Brian unburied his old Batman comics and with Levi cuddled into his side they flipped through them. After getting through the second one, Brian felt his arm get heavy and when he looked down the child was fast asleep. Very carefully Brian slipped away after covering him with a blanket. Before heading to the kitchen to clean up, he stopped in the doorway and just stared at the sleeping child, not knowing how it was possible that after only meeting him twice, Brian knew in his heart that he would die for this kid.
As he loaded the dishwasher, there was a knock at his door. Expecting it to be Juliette, he was shocked when his parents were on the other end of the door. "Mom, Dad!?" he exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"That's how you greet your parents?" his dad laughed stepping in the house.
"No, I mean...I'm just surprised. You didn't call or anything." Brian said a little panicked.
'We were visiting your Aunt Renee and thought we would pop in before heading back home." His mom explained kissing her son on the cheek.
"Oh okay...well I'm unfortunately on my way out." Brian said trying to come up with a lie to get his parents out of the house.
"You can give us 10 minutes of your time, hot shot." James Quinn ordered his son.
Brian knew there was no getting around this, it was time to tell his parents. "Mom, Dad before you go any further, I have to tell you something really important."
James Quinn had already rounded the corner into the living room and was stunned to see a small figure sleeping. "Who's the kid?" he asked.
"He's my son." Brian said, "I have a son."
Chapter 6: Meeting the Quinns
Both of Brian's parents stared in horror and were silent for an all too awkward amount of time. He figured he needed to give his parents time to process so Brian made his way back into his kitchen.
After a few moments Brian was joined by his mom and dad. "Tell me this is a joke Brian, please!" Carol Quinn cried out.
"You really think I would joke about this Ma?" Brian snapped.
Jim Quinn stood at the counter glaring at his middle son, "Watch your tone, that's your mother." He growled. He was furious at his son for keeping this secret from them. "So you knocked some girl up and didn't care to tell us?!"
"Hold on!" Brian interrupted.
"How old is he? What's his name? Why weren't we a part of his life?" Carol kept asking question after question.
Brian was staring to realize that his parents were getting the wrong idea. They thought Brian had known all along. "Can I speak?!" He yelled over them. When his parents quieted down he took a deep breath. "He's name is Levi and he's 4 years old. And in two days it will be exactly one week that I found out this kid even existed. So if I hid anything from you both it was only because I was trying to get to you in person to tell you." Brian then went on to explain seeing him at the library while he was working.
"Who's his mother?" Carol asked her son.
"Do you remember that summer I was seeing this girl Juliette?" Brian replied.
"Of course we remember her." She answered smiling fondly recalling the young girl that had stolen her son's heart that summer.
"Hello?" Carol answered picking up the phone. "Oh hi honey, please don't tell me you're cancelling." Carol said right away nervous that her middle son may have gotten called into work. She was so excited to have her whole family together for a Fourth of July barbecue. Especially since after the summer they would be putting their house on the market and moving to Pennsylvania when Jim retired in the fall.
Carol listened to her son on the other end of the phone, "Well sure..." she answered a little shocked, "Of course you can bring someone with you. Ok, see you soon. Love you."
When she hung up she made her way out on the deck where her husband was cleaning up the patio furniture. "Brian called." She told him.
Jim rolled his eyes, "Let me guess, he's not coming."
"No no!" Carol answered, "He just wanted to know if it would be okay if he brought a guest."
"Probably Sal." Jim said.
"I don't think so, by the sound of his voice, I think it may be a woman." She smiled.
Jim smirked, "You seem happy about that."
"Well it's been a long time since he's brought anyone home." She responded before walking away to check on all the food in the kitchen.
Few hours later and Carol was in love with this girl for her son. She was respectful and had the sweetest personality. However she was still good at giving Brian the business when he needed it. Carol had always said for years that her middle son would need a strong girl in his life.
As she looks on she noticed Juliette talking to Jenny, her daughter in law. As the two younger women were laughing about something, Brian came up from behind her handing her a drink. Carol watched as Juliette accepted the drink and gave Brian a small kiss on the check and continued her conversation with Jenn. Brian wrapped his arm around his girlfriend and joined the conversation looking more content than he had ever looked before.
When Carol's husband whips out the playing cards, you know it's going to be a long night. "Alright who's in?" Jim Quinn called out.
"I'll play!" Juliette immediately jumped forward in her chair and watched as Jim dealt her in.
"You sure about that?" Danny Quinn asked, "Dad isn't gonna go easy on you, believe me." He laughed.
"That's okay, I like a challenge." Juliette smiled as she picked up her cards and looked over her hand.
After 3 rounds Jim finally threw down his cards, "You're good girl. I take my hat off to you." He said in an even thicker New York accent than Brian's which Juliette found unbelievable since she didn't think it could get any more New York than Brian Quinn.
Brian was laughing hysterically, "No one has ever beat my dad!"
"Hold onto this one son." Jim called out.
Juliette and Brian exchanged a look after the comment was made because as much fun as they had been having together the past month, they knew it wouldn't last.
"Can I help?" Juliette called as she came into the kitchen.
"You don't have to sweetie." Carol answered.
Juliette was always raised with manners so even though Carol said she didn't have to, she started wrapping up the desserts and placing them back on the kitchen island. As the two women went about their tasks they chatted. Juliette told her how she met Brian at the fire next door to her aunt's house.
"So what brought you to New York?" Carol asked picking up from her accent that she wasn't a native to the city.
"Staying with my aunt for the summer." Juliette answered. "Just needed to get away for a while and I thought I'd spend time with my aunt and take a couple design classes at a local college."
Carol glanced up from the Tupperware, "Oh so you will be leaving?"
"Unfortunately yes." Juliette sighed sadly.
Carol didn't know what to say. She hoped her son was prepared for the heartbreak of this girl leaving at the end of summer.
It was pretty late when everyone was saying goodbye. Carol pulled Juliette in for a tight hug, "Please come back anytime."
Juliette smiled brightly, "Absolutely!"
"Love you Ma." Brian said giving his mom a kiss on the cheek.
"Bye honey." Carol replied then pulled him in whispering something in his ear that Juliette couldn't hear.
"I know, me too." Brian smiled.
Juliette and Brian were on the road for a few minutes before he spoke. "My mom really likes you."
"Your family is really awesome." She responded smiling that she seemed to have his mom's approval. As they continued to drive back to his place she couldn't help but feel a sudden sadness, did it really matter that his family liked her? After this summer came to an end would she ever see him again?
Brian had just finished explaining running into her at the library and his parents just didn't know how to process what their son was telling them. "So what now?" Jim asked.
Brian simply shrugged his shoulders, "Now I guess I get to know my son." He then went on to explain how they weren't telling Levi the situation just yet.
While in a deep conversation discussing Brian's new role as a dad they were interrupted by the doorbell. "That will be the baby mama." Brian joked trying to lighten the mood.
His mother shot him a very disapproving, "I don't think this is funny." She called after him as he walked to answer the door.
"Hi." Juliette greeted him when the door opened.
"Hey." He responded.
"Everything go okay today?" She asked.
"Think so. He actually just passed out on the couch not too long ago." He said to her as he made his way passed their sleeping son and into the kitchen.
"I'm sure he had a really good time." Juliette smiled. However that smile didn't stay long when she noticed two people standing before her, ones she hadn't seen in years.
"Mrs. Quinn, Mr. Quinn." She greeted with a deer in headlights sort of look.
"Yeah my parents popped in tonight, certainly were surprised when they saw Levi asleep." Brian announced.
"Juliette, you look lovely." Carol said with a forced smile. Usually she was the first one to greet people with hugs but she couldn't bring herself to hug this woman. Brian's parents still weren't sure how they felt about this entire situation, after all this woman kept a grandchild away from them for five years.
"I owe you both a huge apology." The young woman said lowering her head down to the floor in shame. "My decision to not tell Brian about Levi not only effected the two of them but also your entire family. I hadn't even considered that."
"We would have welcomed him with opened arms. You obviously don't didn't think that much of us." Carol snapped.
"Carol it was never anything personal against Brian or your family." Juliette tried to apologize.
"Of course it's personal!" Carol exclaimed causing Juliette to flinch
"Mom calm down." Brian said taking a step closer to his mom whom he almost never saw react in this way.
"I just don't understand why you denied Brian's right to his son?!" Carol continued. "Did you not know who the father was?!"
"No no, it wasn't like that!" Juliette argued back now getting on the defensive. "You look at that child for two seconds and there is no denying who his father is! I spent every waking possible moment with your son that summer so I don't appreciate what you are implying."
"Then what?! He wasn't good enough for you?!" Carol spat.
"Are you kidding?! I was heartbroken to leave him." Juliette yelled. "It was a choice I made. I can't defend what I did but it had nothing to do with me not caring or questioning who my son's father was."
Brian was about to step in when a deep voice interrupted, "Enough!" Jim said demanding the attention of the room. An overall easy going quiet guy was replaced with a stern man. "There's nothing we can do about the past. We all move forward from this moment on now."
"So we are just supposed to forget that we lost all this time with him?" Carol argued.
"Carol!" Jim barked, "Yelling at one another isn't gonna do anything but make the situation worse. This is between Brian and Juliette and they need to figure out how to act in the best interest of their child."
Brian looked between his parents. His dad always has this calming effect on his mom. He looked on and observed as his mother instantly cooled off.
Juliette knew how hard this must be on the entire Quinn family. "Carol?" She said clearing the small tickle in his throat.
"I am truly sorry. I hope you know you are welcomed to spend as much time with Levi as you'd like. It's a sticky situation that I've put us all into but I promise, we will work it all out." She said looking at Brian as a way of getting confirmation. He answered with a simple nod; he was 100 percent on board with being a father to this little boy.
Carol took a deep breath and Brian noticed the tears starting to form in his mother's eyes. He walked over and put his arm around the only woman on the planet to ever love him unconditionally. "It's just he has grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins that would love to know him."
"And I can't wait for him to know an entire side of the family he has but I just want to ease into it. This would be a lot for anyone to take in, never mind a 4 year old." Juliette tried to explain as delicately as possible.
"Mommy?" A little voice came from the living room.
Juliette immediately turned on her heels to go to her son's aid. She figured he would be pretty groggy from his nap and may be frightened waking up in a strange place. "Good morning baby." She joked as she watched the little boy rub his eyes.
"I fell asleep." Levi said in a hoarse voice.
"I see that." She answered running her fingers through his dark hair. "You wanna head home?"
Levi looked passed his mom and saw Brian standing in the doorway, "We never finished the story!" He said extremely disappointed that he didn't know the ending to the second Batman comic they had started.
"It's okay bud, we will finish it next time." Brian assured him.
"Promise?" The little boy egged on.
Brian smiled at the child's fascination with things he loved so very much himself, "I promise."
Meanwhile Brian's parents were looking on in complete astonishment. It was like they had taken a time machine back so many years ago and were looking at their own son as a small child. Out of all the grandchildren they had, Levi now being number 6, he looked more like his dad than the others. "Hello." The shy little voice said greeting them.
"Levi, these are my mom and dad." Brian said, "They popped in when you were asleep.
"Hi." He smiled.
"Hi sweetheart." Carol said taking a seat on the couch next to him. "Goodness you look so much like..."
"Mom!" Brian immediately interjected knowing what she was about to let slip.
"Sorry!" She retracted realizing her mistake. "It's just unbelievable."
"What's unbelievable?" The curious little boy asked.
"How late it's getting." Juliette jumped, "So we better get going, you have school in the morning mister."
Brian quickly gathered up Levi's belongings and handed them off to Juliette. "Can we hang out again?" Levi asked as he followed his mom to the door.
"Of course Buddy. Very soon I promise." Brian said kneeling in front of his son fixing the crooked collar of his shirt.
"And we can finish Batman?!" Levi shouted.
"You bet." Brian winked making him giggle in delight.
Levi them did something that nearly tore Brian to pieces; he wrapped his little arms so tight around Brian's neck and squeezed like it was the last hug he would ever give anyone. "Thanks for a great day!"
Brian hugged his son just as tight never wanting to let go. Watching Juliette leave, this time holding their son's hand, tore him apart even more than the last time he watched her walk away.