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.
Chapter 7: Who Doesn’t Like Ice Cream Sundaes??
"No Brian! Get outta here!!" Juliette shrieked running around the kitchen. She was laughing hysterically covered in whipped cream. "Brian stop!!" She ducked down covering her face that was bright red from laughing.
After going out to dinner, they came back to his apartment for the night and she was in the mood for dessert so the two had been in the kitchen making ice cream sundaes. Trying to be funny and a bit flirty Juliette had sprayed the whipped cream in Brian's face. Retaliation was the only thing currently on the fireman's mind and so far he had wrestled the can away from her and got her hair and face.
"You started this war now I'm gonna finish it!" Brian laughed at Jules covered in the sticky whipped cream.
"Fine fine! Truce?" She asked sticking her hand out to extend the olive branch.
Brian cocked his eyebrow and put his hand out. Behind him he dipped his finger in the chocolate sauce then quickly reached around getting her on the nose.
"You said truce!" Juliette exclaimed wiping the chocolate off her nose.
"I said no such thing, you did." Brian laughed reaching for a paper towel to clean his own face and hands.
A small sly smile crept across Juliette's lips and she reached up running her finger over the whipped cream that was about to drop to the floor. She then brought it to her mouth and let a small moan escape her. "Tastes even better off you." She whispered. Getting on her tip toes she licked more off the side of Brian's face.
Brian's eyes got even darker with desire as he reached over the counter to grab the can again. "Let me try."
Juliette giggled as she watched Brian spray more of the sticky topping to the top of her cleavage. He then dipped his head down and took a taste. "Mmm..you're right. Much better." Pulling her already low cut top down more to expose her bra, Brian then reached his hand inside to palm her breast. With a very sexy ease he applied more whipped cream to Juliette's neck then licked up and down.
"No hickeys this time." She said softly referencing the last time they were together and Brian's mouth got a little carried away on her neck.
"Not making any promises." He whispered then took her soft skin between his teeth biting down. "Let's take this to the bedroom, suddenly I want something else for dessert." He ordered taking the can of whipped cream with them as they raced to his bed eager to strip one another down.
As he put away all the toppings for ice cream sundaes, Brian replayed that day in his head. That was a time where nothing was complicated and they were just a young couple having lots of fun together. Now they were parents to a little boy trying to sort everything out. It had been a couple months and Levi still thought Brian was just an old friend of his mom’s. He was beginning to get frustrated that he still couldn’t tell his own son who he was but for now his hands were kind of tied.
Truth was Brian wasn’t on the birth certificate and after speaking to a lawyer he was told he had no legal ties to this child unless they went through DNA testing and court proceedings. This just wasn’t something Brian wanted to do. After-all the only one that would really suffer would be Levi.
Tonight was a pretty big deal, it was the first time Levi would be staying at his house overnight. He had mentioned it to Juliette multiple times and always got the run around. The Tenderloins had been touring all week and while he was away Juliette had texted him saying that if he was still interested in having Levi over night next weekend she and David were going away for his work trip.
Truth was she was going to ask her Aunt to take Levi but figured she needed to start giving Brian a chance to be a father. And Brian was more than ready to tackle a night with his son. Once he came back from touring he converted an empty room he had for storage into a “guest room” but really it was a room for his son. He bought a twin bed with Batman bedsheets and any superhero toys he could find. The fridge was fully stocked with food that kids liked and lots of snacks.
Noon on the dot, the doorbell alerted Brian that they were here. From the window he noticed Juliette and Levi weren’t alone, David stood on his front porch as well. Before he opened he rolled his eyes, he hated this guy being on his property. The guy that in his mind, had Brian’s life.
“Hi Brian!” Levi exclaimed when Brian opened the door.
“What’s up pal?!” Brian smiled down at his son who was hugging his side tightly. “Hey Jules.” He smiled at the mother of his son.
“Hey.” She smiled softly.
Brian then turned to David, “Sup man?” He muttered in a very non welcoming way.
Once they were inside, Levi took off to look for the cats. Since he had been coming over lately the cats were starting to get a little more comfortable with a kid being around. “Benjamin?!” All three adults heard Levi call out as he ran around looking under furniture, “I’m here!!”
“Honey we really need to hit the road.” David said to Juliette.
“Yeah I know just let me go over everything.” She said bending down to look in all the bags she brought.
“Jesus Jules, what’s he moving in?” Brian joked.
“I know, I overpack. Leave me alone.” She laughed as she pulled a box from one of the bags, “Ok this is his humidifier for when he sleeps. The asthma sometimes makes it hard for him to breath at night so...” she began to explain.
“Already have one.” Brian said picking up the box and putting it back in the bag.
“You do?” She questioned.
“Well yeah...you told me he needed one so I just got my own. No sense in you lugging yours over all the time.” He responded.
“Oh?” She said in shock, “Okay guess we can just throw this in the car.” She said handing it to David.
Brian listened as Juliette went through his night time routine. “And keep his inhaler close by him in case he needs it in the middle of the night.”
“Got it.” Brian answered.
“Oh and this, put this in the fridge for the morning.” She instructed giving him a clear bottle with some disgusting looking green liquid in it.
“What the hell is this?” Brian asked taking the cap off to smell it.
“It’s an avocado and kale smoothie, he has one every morning.” Juliette said.
With a face of pure disgust Brian looked like he was about to vomit from the smell of it, “You can’t be serious?!” Brian exclaimed, “You don’t really expect me to make him drink this shit do you?”
“Their superfoods, it’s loaded with vitamins.” She argued back.
“What happened to the Juliette that pigged out on cheeseburgers with me at 2 in the morning.” Brian asked shaking his head in disbelief.
“That Juliette wasn’t a mom.” She laughed.
“Guess not.” He shrugged. “Alright nasty green drink with breakfast, got it. Anything else?” He asked.
“No I think that about does it. Any problems, call me immediately.” She said.
“I will but I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Brian answered.
“Levi!” Juliette called out, “We’re leaving!”
As fast as lightening, the little boy came racing in, “Bye Mommy, Bye David.”
“Have fun and be good for Brian okay?” Juliette ordered giving her son a big hug and kiss.
“We’re gonna have so much fun tonight, aren’t we buddy?” Brian asked kneeling next to his son. “I got stuff for ice cream sundaes, you like those right?” He asked.
“Who doesn’t?!” Levi shouted getting excited for his sleepover.
“I remember a long time ago, how much Mommy liked ice cream sundaes.” Brian smirked up at Juliette. The rose color that had suddenly appeared gave Brian the clue that she remembered just as well as he did.
Brian wasn’t the only one that noticed the blush on Juliette’s cheeks, David picked up on it too and he wasn’t happy about it in the slightest. “Alright let’s go, I don’t wanna hit traffic.” He barked pretty much pushing his girlfriend out the door.
“Can we play a video game?!” Levi asked jumping up and down.
“Let’s eat some lunch first then we can pick a game.” Brian answered.
“Okay!” Levi agreed taking off to the kitchen.
Meanwhile in the car Juliette was starting a very awkward car ride. For the first 20 minutes, David didn’t say a word. She figured it had something to do with Brian’s comment but if he wanted to sit there and pout, fine.
Her mind couldn’t help but wander to that night so many years ago. She knew exactly what he meant when he said how much she liked ice cream sundaes. As she stared out the window and they got on the expressway her mind drifted.
Still covered in chocolate and whipped cream, the couple barged into the bedroom and ripped every piece of clothing from one another.
With her flat on her back naked and waiting, Brian looked down with lust in his eyes. “You’re already so tasty but let’s see how much better you can get.” He said grabbing the can off the floor where he had dropped it.
Very carefully Brian made an outline around her most intimate area and placed a tiny dot at her opening. Juliette jumped at the unfamiliar feeling and wiggled with anticipation.
Before dipping down Brian admired his worked and licked his lips. “Oh yeah.” He moaned then began tracing the trail of whipped cream with his tongue. He kept following the same path but refused to lick the spot at the center. If there was something he learned very quickly about Juliette was she was even better when he got her all wound up first.
“Fuck baby please.” She begged underneath him.
“I’m getting there Jules.” He chuckled, “Just wanna enjoy my dessert.” He teased.
Once his tongue finally connected with the spot she was begging for him to lick, she yelled out in pure pleasure. “Oh my...your so fucking amazing!” She cried out as he made her cum again and again.
“Why does he get to call you Jules but I can’t?!” David finally spoke.
The sudden break in silence caused Juliette to jump. “Huh?” She asked, her memories being interrupted.
“Quinn.” David responded. “How come he calls you Jules but when I said it when we first started dating you asked me not to call you that?”
“Like I said, I was a different person then.” She answered continuing to stare out the window lost in her thoughts.
Chapter 8: Why Don’t You Have a Daddy?
The pair had been having a great day together. Now it was almost dinner time and they were lounging on the couch together. Brian's doorbell startled the two. "Who the...?" He said as he got up to answer.
"Greetings!" He was met with when he opened the door to Joe, Bessy, and their little daughter, Milana.
"Umm...hi?" Brian said very confused, "What are you doing here?"
"We were in the neighborhood and just thought we'd drop by." Joe answered.
"You were in the neighborhood?" Brian laughed knowing exactly what was going on. "You live on Long Island, not exactly close-by."
"I don't like what your insinuating." Joe said acting insulted. "We were visiting Sal."
Brian smiled and shook his head, "Nice try, he's still outta town. Checking up on me?"
Bessy slapped her husband's arm, "See I told you it was rude to just drop in."
"It's fine guys, come on in." He reassured them stepping back to let the Gattos in. "Hey babygirl." Brian knelt down greeting the littlest Gatto.
"Hi Q." She smiled.
As they made their way into the living room Bessy stopped in her tracks when she laid eyes on the little boy, "Woah." She whispered to her husband. "You weren't kidding, looks just like him."
After Brian introduced Levi to Joe and Bessy, him and Milana were off like two rockets. "Let's play hide and seek!" The little girl giggled as she looked for a good hiding spot. Off in the distance the adults could hear Levi counting.
"So how's it going?" Joe asked.
"Honestly?" Brian responded. "It's going great." He smiled as he talked. "I never thought I would say this but having a kid is pretty damn cool."
"Told ya!" Joe smiled. He would be lost without his daughter, she was his entire world.
"He's your twin, Q." Bessy said.
"I know." Brian smiled, "It's crazy looking at him sometimes. My mom was in hysterics over it."
"So he still has no idea who you are?" Bessy whispered.
"Not yet. That's the shitty part of not being in your kids life from the beginning, you have no say in anything." Brian said sarcastically rolling his eyes.
"Good thing is you're in his life now. Just got some lost time to make up for." Bessy tried to reassure.
"It's all gonna be okay bud." Joe added.
As the adults were talking, the kids were having a conversation of their own. "Is Q your daddy?" Milana asked.
"Q?" The little boy questioned. "Who's that?"
Milana pointed down the stairs to the adults that were wrapped in their chat. "Brian?" Levi asked. "No, I don't have a daddy." He answered sadly.
"You don't have a daddy?" Milana asked. "How come?"
Levi looked down at his hands and said very softly, "I don't know."
Milana Gatto, although very young had her parents compassion and realized she shouldn't ask anymore questions since it was making her new friend very sad. "Hey!" She exclaimed, "I have crayons in my bag, lets color silly pictures!"
"Ok!" Levi smiled running down the stairs following Milana.
Okay changed into pajamas, face washed, teeth brushed, inhaler was on the nightstand, nightlight turned on, and they already read 2 books. Brian was going over his mental checklist as Levi got settled in bed. The little boy was fighting yawns everytime Brian looked at him.
"Ready for bed buddy?" He asked. The little boy glanced around the room nervously but nodded his head. "Listen if you get nervous, my room is two doors down the hall, come get me. Okay?"
"Okay Brian." Levi smiled.
"Alright Buddy." Brian leaned down placing a kiss to his forehead, "Sleep tight. See you in the morning."
"Brian?" Levi called out stopping Brian in his tracks."
"What's up pal?" He answered turning around.
"Why don't I have a daddy?" Levi asked.
"Shit." He whispered under his breath then took a seat on the edge of the bed then took a giant exhale gathering his thoughts. "I don't know what your mom has told you but..."
"I know I have one but she never talks about him, even when I ask." Levi interrupted. "It makes me sad."
"What does she say when you ask her about him?" Brian asked.
"Just that he's not a part of our lives." The little boy answered looking down at the blanket. "I don't know what I did to make him not like me."
"Nothing Levi!" Brian exclaimed making the little boy jump. After taking a moment to calm himself down for frightening the child he put his arm tightly around his son, "Buddy, I don't know the right thing to say but I can promise that you didn't do anything to make your dad not like you. Sometimes things happen that people don't plan on."
"How do you know?" Levi asked looking up Brian.
"I just know." He assured the child.
After Brian tucked Levi in for the second time he made his way downstairs to clean up, inside seething with anger. It was one thing to not tell him he had a child but to purposely make Levi feel like his dad didn't like him by not answering his questions was not something he was gonna stand for.
Getting breakfast ready for someone else was a new experience for Brian Quinn. If anything breakfast for him consisted of a quick bowl of cereal or buying something before work. As Levi ate his eggs and oatmeal, Brian frowned at the green liquid still sitting in his fridge.
"Levi, do you really wanna drink this stuff?" Brian asked holding it up. "
"No it's so yucky!" The little boy laughed.
"That's what I thought." He said dumping it down the drain.
"Mommy's gonna be mad." Levi giggled.
"She'll get over it." Brian winked.
Few hours later there was a knock at the door. Levi was upstairs watching a movie cuddled up with the cats in Brian's bed which was good since he had a few bones to pick with Juliette.
"Hey." She answered when he opened the door.
"Where's Mr. Wonderful?" Brian asked immediately noticing that David wasn't with her.
"Back at the house, he had more work to get done and can you be nice please?" Juliette said not amused by the comment.
"Just surprised he trusts us alone together. He sure doesn't like me involved." Brian barked.
"Where's Levi?" Juliette asked trying to change the subject.
"He's upstairs watching a movie, I wanna talk alone before I get him." Brian said.
"Ok?" Juliette questioned, "Were there any problems?"
"Are you aware that Levi thinks his father hates him because he had never met him?" Brian exclaimed.
"What? Why do you think that?" Juliette asked.
"Because he fucking told me Juliette!" Brian yelled. "He has been thinking that he's done something wrong to make his dad not come around. Do you have any idea how hard that is to hear as his father?"
"I'll talk to him. Make sure he knows that's not true." Juliette said.
"I wanna tell him. Today!" Brian announced.
"Brian we agreed..." she began to say.
"No I just went along with it, I didn't agree to anything. I've spent enough time with him, I want him to know who I really am. How long do you honestly expect him to believe this I'm an old friend bullshit?!" Brian was now furious.
"We will tell him when I think he'll be able to handle it." Juliette fought back.
"You and David you mean. Because he has more of a say about my own kid than I do!" Brian yelled.
"Well he has been in his life for years." Juliette argued.
"You act like its my fault that I wasn't there from the start! Like a simple fucking phone call years ago wouldn't have changed things!"
“I understand all that and I also understand that you don’t like David and that’s....” Juliette started to say.
“I don’t give a fuck about David!” Brian yelled back, “All I care about is that little boy upstairs who thinks he did something to chase his father away which apparently isn’t a priority to you and your boyfriend!”
This comment sent Juliette in a rage. “You son of a bitch!” She yelled. “Don’t you dare tell me what is a priority when it comes to my son! I have been there for everything! Every bump, bruise, fever, everything! That boy is my life!”
As she was flaring her arms around in anger the light hit her finger and something very shiny caught Brian’s eye. “What is that?” He asked grabbing her hand.
“That’s something else I needed to tell you....David proposed last night.” She stuttered.
Brian took two steps back, feeling like he got kicked in the stomach. It wasn’t like getting back together with Jules was number one on his mind but now the thought of her being married to another man made him feel like he was going to throw up. She sensed the uneasiness about Brian and immediately cooled down. Hurting him was he last thing she wanted, she had done that enough by keeping his son a secret. “I promise, we can tell him very soon. I want you both to spend as much time as you can together.” She then smiled thinking of their son, “You’re all he talks about lately.”
“I’ll go upstairs and get him.” He immediately stated leaving the room. Space from this woman he was once so deeply in love with, was his only option right now. It was becoming clear to him, it was too painful.
Chapter 9: Simple Bike Ride?
Brian woke up suddenly with a pounding headache. The light from outside was blinding and he hid his head underneath the pillow to shield himself from it.
"Good morning handsome." A woman's voice called out from the foot of the bed.
He jumped in surprise forgetting that he wasn't alone in this hotel room. "Oh hey sweetheart." He said with a forced smile.
"Last night was really fun." Another voice came from the bathroom.
Brian rolled over and was confused for a minute thinking he was seeing double but then started to quickly piece together the night. Taking a pair of sexy twins back to his room should be something he was patting himself on the back for but honestly he could care less.
Ever since he found out about Juliette's engagement he was drinking more and hooking up with more women to try and numb the pain. It had been a couple weeks and he had only talked to Levi once over FaceTime. He felt awful about it and he knew it probably made him a shitty person but having any contact with Jules was just too much at the moment.
He didn't really know why, they hadn't been together in years but thinking of her getting married was just unsettling.
Once he gave the twins his typical "had a great time but not looking to go past last night" speech he hopped in the shower and let the hot water wash over his body. He had no idea how his life turned upside down so quickly.
As he got himself dressed his phone alerted him of an incoming text.
Jules: Alright I've been quiet long enough. I've given you some space but I have no idea wyhat your problem is lately! I warned you about entering Levi's life if you weren't gonna stick around. I get your busy with work but he's been very upset that he hasn't heard from you lately. A simple phone call would go a long way Quinn.
Brian thought for a minute before responding. He took a seat on the bed, water dripping off his hair and took a few deep breaths. Lately he felt like he was being pulled in a million directions. His family was pressuring him to bring Levi around, his friends were giving him so many different pieces of advice but if he was being honest, no one was in his situation so no one knew what to say to him. Juliette was pulling him in a different direction by keeping the truth from their son.
After their show last night Joe kept shooting him disapproving looks when he saw him flirting with the two girls. He kept pestering Brian that he needed to stop messing around and act the way he would want his son to act as a man. Although probably good advice, it was something he just didn't wanna hear right now. It wasn't even like his son knew who he was.
After collecting his thoughts he began to type a response.
If I'm being honest a I kinda don't know where I fit in with all this. You and your fiancé seem to have this perfect little family already in place. Guess I'm starting to think that Levi doesn't need me.
Juliette was sitting in her office reading Brian's text over and over again. She knew he was upset about the engagement; the look in his eyes when he saw the ring said it all. If she was being honest with herself she wasn't even sure how she felt about it. It was a complete shock to her since in the weeks leading up to it, there was a lot of tension between her and David. Now since the engagement, David had been nagging about when she wanted to get married. Juliette just needed to breathe for two seconds and focus on more important things, like her son and having him build a relationship with his father.
Juliette: If that's what you wanna believe that fine but you walk out of his life don't think you can come back in. I told you before you're either in or out. His emotions are not gonna be toyed with.
After Juliette sent that message she immediately followed up with an additional message that she hoped would convince Brian that he was so special to their son.
Mine and David's relationship has nothing to do with you and Levi. Something that I can tell you is for as long as I can remember David has to always work at a relationship with Levi. As far as the bond you have with him, I've never seen anything so natural in my life. You mean so much to him.
Brian smiled at Juliette's last message. After taking a screenshot and saving it he decided to stop taking the easy way out and focus on the only person that truly mattered, his son.
Once Brian was back home from tour he made arrangements to take Levi for the day and the little boy couldn't have been more excited. He finally got a car seat installed in his Jeep so now he was going to start taking Levi on day trips to different places. For their first day out together in the car he took him to the Staten Island Children's Museum and boy did that kid have a blast.
Being such a smart kid Levi ran from one exhibit to the next learning and asking questions. Even though Brian figured he really couldn't take credit, he smiled with such pride at how smart his son was. Even with all the excitement and distractions, Levi never ran too far and was constantly looking back and smiling making sure Brian wasn't too far.
Levi had been missing the cats so Brian thought it would be a good idea to go back to the house for some lunch. Surprisingly it seems like they missed the little boy just as much because the second they heard his voice, they came running rubbing up against his legs.
After lunch Levi wanted to go back outside and play. As Levi scurried around the backyard, Brian brought his motorcycle out of the garage. It had been sometime and it was definitely due for a washing. "Cool!" Levi cried out from behind him pointing to the bike.
"You like this?" Brian smiled. "I'm gonna wash it real quick, you wanna help me?"
"Ok!" He answered excitedly.
Once Brian got all the cleaning supplies from the garage he started up the hose and watched as his son took washing the bike very seriously. With a crinkled little forehead he scrubbed each part of the bike until it shined beautifully. The look on his face reminded Brian so much of Jules. During their summer together he would steal glances at her when she was doing a cross word puzzle or engaged in a really good book and at those times she would make the same exact face that Levi was now making.
"Can we ride it?" Levi asked as Brian was wrapping the hose back up.
"Oh I don't know buddy. Mommy wouldn't like that too much." Brian responded.
Levi looked up with a grin on his face, “She’ll get over it.” He said repeated the same words Brian had said when he dumped his smoothie. It was then that Brian truly realized he had a clone on this earth.
Seeing his neighbors across the street who had small children he quickly jogged over to see if they had a small bike helmet they could borrow. When he returned Levi was chopping at the bits to hop on. Brian knew what he was doing was probably illegal as hell but when it came to this little boy, he was started to realize he was turning into a big teddy bear.
Once the helmet was on tight and Brian went over the rules he placed Levi in front. “Just quick around the block okay bud?” He yelled over the roar of the engine.
Brian was pulled to the far side of his residential neighborhood and made sure to not go over 15 mph but that was enough for the little boy to squeal with delight. “So cool!!” Levi exclaimed. As Brian navigated the street he smiled at how much fun Levi was having. However the smile quickly faded when he rounded the corner back on his street and saw Juliette’s car out front of his house.
Standing on his front porch was her and David. Once they heard the motorcycle roaring they turned and had the worst looks of horror on their faces. “Hi Mommy! Hi David!” Levi yelled laughing.
“Shit.” Brian whispered under his breath.
“Have you completely lost your mind!” Juliette screamed not even giving Brian a chance to turn the bike off.
“I know you don’t have a lot of experience with kids but how stupid do you have to be?!” David exclaimed red in the face.
“Levi go inside and get your things!” Juliette ordered.
“But Mom...” the little boy objected.
“I said go!!” She barked back.
Levi jumped nearly out of his skin and took off running inside the house.
“Alright look, I know this looks bad but he had a helmet and we were going incredibly slow.” Brian said trying to save himself.
“You had a young child on a motorcycle! Do I really need to explain why this is the most irresponsible thing you could ever do?!” Juliette shouted shaking with anger.
“You are completely incompetent when it comes to caring for a child!” David fired back.
“Alright look, I’ll take crap from her but you better shut it before I do it for you!” Brian snapped staring David down.
“I know that child a hell of a lot better than you so don’t talk to me about....” David argued giving Brian the impression that he wasn’t backing down.
“But he will never be yours, will he?!” Brian shouted. “He will never be your flesh and blood and that fucking kills you! That why you proposed to Jules soon after I came along. Huh? Stake your claim on her?”
“Alright enough both of you!” Juliette interrupted.
“You don’t butt your nose into our relationship Quinn!” David yelled ignoring his fiancé, “You had nothing with her, you had a summer fucking fling that went nowhere. You may be Levi’s father but when it comes to this family you will never....”
“YOU’RE MY DAD?!” A shocked little voice came from behind the adults.
All three heads quickly turned to see a scared Levi standing clutching his backpack. Tears were welling in his eyes with his bottom lip quivering.
“Oh my god.” Juliette whispered. This was the exact opposite of how her son should be finding out.
Chapter 10: Old Feelings Don’t Die
Brian immediately made his way over to Levi who was still standing on the front porch. However as he got closer, the little boy backed up more and more. "Levi." He said softly, "Listen to me."
"No!" Levi cried out, "Are you really my dad?!"
Brian decided the best course of measure was to approach this very carefully. He knelt down in front of the small child, "Buddy I'm not gonna lie to you anymore, yes. I'm your dad."
"Why did no one tell me?!" Levi yelled but tears were still running down his little face. "I asked you!" He shouted at Brian. "I asked why I didn't have a daddy and you still didn't tell me."
"Levi.." David began to say but Juliette immediately stopped him.
"Don't." She said sternly then went to join her son and Brian on the porch. It was because of the choices she made that this was all happening. "Baby look at Mommy." She said stroking the back of her son's hair.
"I always asked you!" The small child screamed in his mom's face.
"You're right, you did and one day when you're a bit older and will understand I'll tell you why but all I can say now is I'm sorry. You are the last person in this whole world that I would wanna hurt."
Levi was still angry but took the comforting from his mom. As he hugged her he kept looking at Brian who was still kneeling beside him. Once he let go of his mom he stood still confused on what to do.
Brian who was usually rough around the edges took a different approach and took a seat on the floor. "You wanna come sit?" He asked patting his lap.
The little boy was all of a sudden acting very different around him. 10 minutes ago they were laughing and having the time of their lives but now Levi almost looked frightened of him. "How about just next to me, not on my lap. Please?" He smiled sadly.
"Ok." Levi whispered inching closer to Brian sitting next to him but making sure he wasn't touching him.
"I don't want you to be sad or angry Levi. Hanging out with you has become my newest favorite thing and I really wanna keep doing that. Would that be okay?" Brian asked.
Levi was still confused and upset but shyly nodded his head but his eyes remained fixated on the ground.
"When you're ready you have uncles and cousins who I think you would really love. And you already met your other grandparents who are dying to spend time with you too. But only when you're absolutely ready to." Brian said.
"Cousins?" Levi asked finally looking up. His mom was an only child, this is something that he never had before.
"Yup." Brian answered with a smile, "5 of them actually.
Juliette slid closer to her son and grabbed his little hand, "Baby I'm so sorry you had to find out like this but you do have a daddy and I'm sure you will get to spend as much time with him as you want." She spoke but this time locking eyes with Brian.
"If I'm not working I'm all yours bud." Brian said finally feeling his son let his guard down as he leaned into him resting his head on Brian's arm. Levi Dawson was still very much confused and upset but he had the one thing he always wanted, a dad.
It was a long emotional day. Juliette had finally gotten Levi down. She never knew how she was going to go about telling her son the truth but hearing it blurred out during an argument was not the way he should have learned it.
Since being home she hadn't spoken to David much, she was furious. He was in the living room watching ESPN when she couldn't take it anymore. With Levi finally asleep she knew she could confront him now.
Walking into the living room she stood right in front of the TV with her hands on her hips. "Excuse me!" David exclaimed trying to look around his fiancé.
"You proud of yourself?!" Juliette exclaimed. "Because of your temper, my son was traumatized today!"
David rolled his eyes, "I knew this was gonna fall back on me! Don't be dramatic, he's not traumatized Juliette. Besides Quinn got his way, Levi knows now."
"What is your problem with him?" She snapped.
"I don't like the little looks and comments he makes to you. It's almost like he still wants you!" David yelled.
"Was he right?" Juliette asked now questioning everything she thought she knew. "Did you just propose to me to make a point to him?"
"You ex doesn't effect my life but believe what you want!" David shouted then jumped up heading for the door to get his shoes.
"Where are you going?!" She called after him.
"Out!" He yelled before slamming the door behind him.
"Asshole!" She screamed out throwing the remote across the living room.
The next day at work Brian had just finished telling his friends about Levi finally finding out. There was something that Joe had been meaning to discuss with his friend.
"Q, Buddy...now that Levi knows it might not be a bad idea to get everything legalized." He said.
"I don't see a reason to. I don't think Juliette would take him away from me. She wouldn't wanna hurt Levi like that." Q said trying to brush off his friend's advice.
"I'm not talking about her. I wouldn't wanna see her fiancé take him." Joe said.
Just the thought of David made Brian's blood boil, "That guy has no legal ties to my kid Joe!"
"He will once they get married Q! Something happens to Juliette and you're not legally Levi's father, her husband would get custody over you.
Brian sat back in his chair and thought about what Joe said. He knew he had to talk to an attorney and get things going.
"Hello?" Juliette answered her phone the next day in her office.
"Hey Jules. Can we talk?" Brian asked.
"Sure what's up?" She responded.
"Actually it something I was hoping to talk about in person. Kinda important." Brian replied.
"Umm...ok." She answered rather suspiciously. "Well aren't you taking Levi to the movies tomorrow? We can talk then."
"Do you have time today? I would prefer to talk without Levi around. Don't need him overhearing anything else." He said.
Juliette automatically felt very uneasy about this. She didn't know what Brian could possibly want to talk to her about. "Well I'll be at work all day if you wanna stop by. My aunt always picks up Levi from school on Tuesdays so I can work late."
"Ok great. Text me the address. We're almost done shooting for the day so I should be there about 3." He told her before hanging up.
Quarter passed three and Brian was walking along Prince Street looking for Juliette's office. He was a little confused because he didn't see any office buildings, just a lot of small boutiques. SoHo was full of them. The address led him to a small shoppe. He was shocked when he noticed the name of the store, Dawson Designs.
Juliette's dream had actually come true. He remembered so many years ago walking these streets and listening to her talk about becoming a designer and having her own store. With the craziness of finding out about Levi, Brian had never even asked Jules what she did for work. All he had known was that she came to New York for work.
The bell above the door sounded as he walked into the boutique. "Hello sir, can I help you find anything?"A young woman greeted him.
"I'm looking for Juliette Dawson." He responded.
"You must be Levi's dad." She smiled, "She's in the back, first door on the left."
"Thanks sweetheart." Brian said making the young woman blush.
He knocked on the door he was told and saw Juliette look up from her desk. "You really did it." He smiled.
She knew he was referring to her own shoppe. "Work in progress." She said pointing to all the boxes that lined the walls that hadn't been unpacked yet.
"You'll get there." He encouraged, "I'm happy your dream is coming true Jules."
"Thanks." She smiled at the compliment. After the past couple days she had, she needed it. David and her still weren't really speaking and being home was just awkward right now. "What did you wanna talk about?"
"I talked to an attorney Jules. I really think it's a good idea to get stuff legalized." Brian started to say.
Juliette looked at Brian in absolute panic, "You wanna take my son away from me?"
"No!" He exclaimed, "Absolutely not, I just...Jules I'm not even on his birth certificate. Other than my blood running through his veins, I am nothing to the kid.
"So you want custody for what?" Juliette asked starting to get awfully defensive. "I have never asked you for anything, no child support nothing for him."
"Which I'll be more than willing to pay. Another reason we should get things legalized." Brian said.
"I don't need your money Brian. If anything it's weird thinking of taking your money." She argued.
"It would be money for Levi. You're trying to tell me it wouldn't help you out?" Brian countered. He then shook his head, they were getting sidetracked, "But this isn't about money Jules, that can all be sorted out between us. What I'm talking about is if God forbid something happened to you, I have no legal attachments to him. I have no way of proving that I'm his father. Someone else could take him away from me and I would never see him again."
When Juliette was a teenager she struggled with anxiety for years. She had got it under control and hadn't had any issues in years but since moving to New York and being so out of her comfort zone it started to bother her again. Suddenly Juliette felt everything bubble to the surface and she burst into tears.
"Hey hey!" Brian cried out not understanding why she was crying.
"I'm sorry!" Juliette exclaimed between cries. She tried wiping the tears from her eyes but they just kept on falling.
"Shhh..." Brian hushed trying his best calm her down. "Come here." He said wrapping his arms around her in a big hug. "You know I can't take it when you cry, never could." He laughed softly trying to lighten the mood. As she cried against his chest he stroked the back of her hair and recalled the first time he had ever seen her cry.
Brian had just gotten off his 2nd double shift and needless to say he was certain he shouldn't be driving being this tired but he hadn't seen Jules all week so he toughed through it.
Her aunt was visiting a friend overnight so Juliette just suggested he come over and they spend the whole day in bed together. Getting lost in Jules' body all day was the best way he could think of to spend his day. When he got there she had lunch waiting for him which was a good thing because he was starving.
He noticed she was a bit on edge and when he asked her she explained that her mom was supposed to be calling any minute when the mail showed up back home. Her letter with an answer from a design school back home was supposed to be coming today. A few of her friends from back home had already been accepted.
She jumped when the house phone rang. "Hey mom! Did it come?" She instantly asked pacing the kitchen floor.
Brian watched as her face dropped. "Oh...ok." She said into the phone. "Yeah I'm fine. Honest I'm fine. I'll talk to you later." She then hung up holding her head down. "I didn't get in." She said sadly.
"I'm sorry babe." Brian said getting up from his chair to hug her. It was then that he saw tears fill her eyes.
“I thought for sure I’d get in.” She said letting the tears fall. “I’ve been working so hard at that workshop and sent them updates sketches I’ve done.”
Brian held her as she cried. It was killing him seeing her so disappointed and heartbroken. “Baby you don’t need them. I’ve seen your drawings and they are amazing. Who needs some stupid Colorado fashion school.” He whispered against her face. It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her to stay in New York and go to a school here but he held back, a decision he knew he would regret. Instead Brian held her as tight as he could and kissed away her tears.
“Care to tell me what’s wrong?” Brian whispered against her ear.
“I’m sorry.” She said pulling back and wiping the tears, “I just feel so overwhelmed right now.”
Brian could tell by the look on her eyes that she wasn’t okay, “Jules what’s wrong?”
“I’m trying really hard to be strong but I just feel like I’m breaking.” She confessed, “And I just...” She then paused and rethought what she was about to say, “Nevermind, I’m sorry. I’ve put enough on the plate with a mystery child.” She said sarcastically laughing and crying at the same time over how ridiculous that sentence was.
It was then that Brian grabbed her face between his hands. She instantly felt her entire body grow hot from the intense sudden contact, “Jules, it’s still me.” He whispered. “Before everything got so fucked up and messy, it was just you and me. You used to tell me everything. I’m still Brian, Jules. Talk to me.”
She took a deep breathe and without even knowing put her hands over his. Years ago he always had this calming effect on her and apparently still did. “I just feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions. First my family in Colorado are giving me shit for moving here and tell me every chance they get to just come home. I let Levi down. David and I haven’t talked in two fucking days. So now having you say you want to go to court about Levi, I guess I finally broke.”
“Listen to me. As far as your family goes, the hell with them. You are pursuing a dream that a lot of people would have backed down from. But not you, you are doing it Jules. They should be proud of you not discouraging you.
You didn’t let Levi down, that’s the last thing you could ever do. You are everything to him.”
Juliette began crying again and just kept shaking her head in disagreement. “Juliette stop it!” Brian said sternly, “You are the best mother I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you.” She whispered with a sad smile, “I just feel awful for everything.”
“And we’re adapting, we’re getting through it. I don’t want to go to court either. I just want us to get together with an attorney privately and legally get me on the books as Levi’s father.”
“I think that’s a good idea.” Juliette answered, her voice still pretty shaky but she had stopped crying.
“Now what’s David’s problem?” Brian asked.
Juliette immediately regretted bringing him up, “Nothing forget I said anything.” Brian let a very sly grin slip. “You best get that smirk off your face Fireboy.” Juliette snapped trying to be serious but couldn’t help her own smile.
“Am I smirking?” Brian laughed.
“You know damn well you’re smirking!” She responded.
“I can tell when someone doesn’t like me and you know what I don’t really give a shit.” Brian said. He then stepped closer to her and placed his hands back on her cheeks, “But I am sorry you’re getting shit for it.”
The way he was looking through her was sending chills all over her body. Their faces were so close to one another and if it were anyone else Juliette would have taken 5 steps back but it wasn’t anyone else. It was Brian. She felt his breath on her, she felt his touch against her skin, she felt his heart beat in his chest.
“Juliette?” A voice came from outside the door making them jump apart.
“Come in.” Juliette called out.
“The models are here to start taking pictures for the website.” Her employee, Joyce, announced.
“Ok, I’ll be right out.” She answered watching as Joyce left shutting the door behind her.
After a few moments of silence and looking at one another, Brian finally broke the air, “I’m gonna get going but if you’re okay with it, I’d like to talk to an attorney who specializes in this kind of thing.”
“Definitely. Just let me know what you need me to do.” She answered. As he reached the door he was stopped by her calling out to him, “Hey Fireboy?”
Brian turned smiling at the old nickname.
“Thanks.” She smiled. “Didn’t realize how much I missed our talks.”
“Anytime Jules.” He said with a wink then slipped out.
Once he was gone, she collapsed in her chair. Her skin was flushed, her breathing was rapid, and her heart was pounding 100 miles an hour. His effect on her was a strong as it ever was and she didn’t know what to do about it.
Chapter 11: Truth or Dare
"Holy shit....harder!" Juliette screamed as she flung her head back banging it against the headboard. "Ouch!" She exclaimed rubbing the pain.
"Fuck, you okay?" Brian laughed.
"I'm fine." She answered, "Just don't stop." She commanded.
"Wasn't planning on it." He growled as he drilled into her harder only this time placing his hand behind her head to prevent anymore accidents.
"Baby you're so good." Juliette shrieked in almost a whimper. She bite her lip before saying anything else. Telling him that she loved him was on the tip of her tongue but she couldn't bring herself to say it. So she let out a moan and enjoyed everything he was doing to her body.
"Jules I'm close baby." Brian said against her skin.
"Do it Brian, I wanna feel you." She urged him.
He looked down at the women under him and gave her a sexy smirk then felt his body take over and he felt himself release. "I'll never get enough of you Jules." He whispered as he came down from his high. "Never." He repeated then kissed her softly.
Juliette's eyes popped open and she looked around almost confused on where she was. That dream felt so real she could have almost swore she traveled back to that summer. What was even more alarming was this wasn't the first dream she had about Brian. Looking over her shoulder she saw David cuddled up to her squeezing her tightly as he slept. They had sex earlier in the night and even though David was good in bed, he didn't give her the feeling she was looking for.
Suddenly she felt suffocated and needed to get a drink of water. She wiggled out of David's arms and threw her robe on to head downstairs.
She leaned against the kitchen sink downing two large glasses of water. Somehow she had to get these dreams under control. All she could think of was slipping up and talking in her sleep and David hearing her call out another man's name. Sleep was the last thing on her mind at this point so she grabbed her phone and headed to the living room to try and find something to watch.
David was so quick to drag her off to bed when Levi went to sleep that she hadn't even checked her work emails so at 2am she scrolled through her phone seeing if there was anything she needed to address in the morning. It was then that she noticed a text from earlier in the evening that she never saw from Brian.
Hey in a few weeks, there's this big 100th episode celebration. We are shooting a special uptown and it would really mean a lot if Levi could be there. It's on a weeknight and I know how you feel about his bedtime but if we could make an exception for this, I would really appreciate it.
It had been a couple weeks since everything hit the fan with Levi finding everything out. Slowly things were starting to get back to the new normal. Brian was taking Levi more and more and although he still wasn't calling him Daddy, Juliette could tell her son was loving the fact that he finally had a dad. Brian was right, Juliette was very strict when it came to bedtimes especially during the week but she wouldn't imagine depriving her son of missing something so important to his dad.
I'm sorry just seeing your text, I know it's late but I didn't want you to think I was ignoring you. I have no problem with Levi going. Just let me know details as it gets closer.
She placed her phone on the coffee table and began flipping through channels. As she kept scrolling through something caught her eye and she couldn't help but laugh and roll her eyes. Even at 2 o'clock in the morning Impractical Jokers was playing and staring back her was the very man she just had a dream about. She took a second to study his appearance. His longer hair was still taking some getting used to, when she knew him he was always so clean cut; you had to be with the fire department. Now his hair was longer and his face was covered with facial hair. Even though it was different, she didn't hate it.
When her phone buzzed suddenly it scared her and she spilt her water all down her robe. "Shit." She muttered jumping up to wipe herself off. After attending to the mess she read her incoming text.
Brian: What the hell are you doing up? Lol
Juliette: Couldn't sleep and I just saw your text now. I should ask you the same question lol.
Brian: Was out with a couple friends, just got in a little while ago.
Juliette: Life of a big TV star, Excuse me! Lol
Brian: Ha! Hardly!
Brian: Thanks for letting Levi come, it means a lot. My family will be there to keep an eye on him but your welcomed to come along if you'd like.
Juliette's heart dropped when she read that the invite was extended to her as well. It probably would be a huge ordeal with David if she did go but part of her didn't care. Brian was the father of her son, he wasn't going anywhere.
Juliette: Sounds fun.
Brian: Great! I'll add you to the family list and get passes for you both. I'm gonna hit the pillow. goodnight Jules.
Juliette: Goodnight Fireboy.
The following night Brian had a Friday night off and took Levi overnight. David was out of town for work so Juliette found herself alone in the house. She couldn't help but think how pathetic she was being in her pajamas before 8. Deciding to grab her sketchbook she thought it would be a good idea to start coming up with new designs for the spring line she was hoping to launch.
About 45 minutes into getting lost in her sketches her phone rang. Seeing it was Brian she picked up immediately. "Hello?"
"Hey Jules. Sorry to bother you but Levi got sick after I put him to bed and he wanted to call you." Brian said.
Juliette could hear her son in the background crying, "Put him on."
"Hi Mommy." Levi said coming to the phone.
"Baby you okay?" She asked.
"My tummy hurts." He whined.
"Want me to come pick you up?" She asked.
"Uh huh." The little boy sniffled.
Brian just finished loading up his washing machine with the sheets that Levi had puked all over. He was pretty impressed how quickly he jumped into 'Dad Mode' and pulled Levi out of bed throwing him into the tub then immediately checked for a temperature, which luckily he didn't seem to have. Then he changed him into fresh pajamas and did his best to keep him calm but like any kid, he wanted his mom when he didn't feel good.
He wasn't surprised by how fast Juliette got to his house but now he was a bit conflicted. "He okay?" She immediately asked when he opened the door.
"Yeah he just fell back asleep though." Brian said feeling bad for even calling her now. "I can wake him if you want."
"No I don't want you to wake him." She sighed, "But I don't really wanna leave and have him wake up again."
Brian glanced at her from the side of his eyes not knowing if he should suggest what he was about to say, "Well you could always stay here if you wanted."
Juliette paused, like Brian she wasn't sure if this was the best idea but it did make more sense then leaving again and having Levi want her in the middle of the night. "Umm...I guess, as long as you don't mind."
"Hungry?" He asked smiling trying to lighten the weird mood that had fell over the room.
"Sure." She smiled following him into the kitchen. When she walked in she was in total disbelief. Before her was an entire sink of dishes, two pizza boxes, an empty bag of microwave popcorn, half eaten bag of Doritos, a giant bag of Sour Patch Kids that had already been dug into, and two empty Coke bottles. "You've got to be shitting me Quinn!" She exclaimed.
Brian put on his best innocent smile that years ago worked on her, "Boys night." He laughed.
"No wonder the kid puked his guts out!" She said trying to hide her smile then picked up the soda bottles, "How much of this did he have?!"
Brian didn't answer, he just looked around the room trying to avoid eye contact. "Brian!" She shouted but couldn't hold in her laugh anymore. "Now I know why he likes coming over here so much, you stuff him like a Christmas goose!"
"Hey!" He argued insulted by her comment, "I like to think he enjoys spending time with his dad."
"Doesn't hurt that you butter him up with all this sugar." She laughed then finally caved and took a handful of Sour Patch Kids.
Brian walked to the other side of the kitchen and reached into the liquor cabinet over the fridge. He grabbed an opened bottle of Jameson and poured two shots. Without saying a word he handed one to Juliette.
"I probably shouldn't." She said.
"Oh come on, you're already eating sugary candy. Might as well keep going." He egged on.
She took the glass from his hand but still didn't drink it. "What's wrong, Mr. Wet Blanket at home wouldn't approve?" He teased.
"You act like we don't drink or have any fun. Last week I polished off an entire bottle of Chardonnay myself." She defended. When Brian gave her a look that told her exactly how lame that sounded she sighed at how non exciting her life had become. "Cheers!" She finally said clinking her shot glass against his and downing it.
"Atta girl!" Brian laughed then poured another round before she changed her mind.
Juliette honestly couldn't believe the last time she had laughed so hard. Her stomach was literally killing her. As the night grew on, the bottle of Jameson was half gone and they had finished off the pizza. "Truth or Dare?!" She shouted.
Brian took a sip of beer then glanced at her questionably, "Whatta we 12?" He laughed.
"Just shut up and play!" She said slurring her words a bit and smacking him on the arm playfully.
"Fine." He groaned. "Truth."
"Boorrring." She teased rolling her eyes. "Okayyyy..." she dragged out thinking of a question. She then thought of a question that she always wanted to know but never had the guts to ask. " Do you have a girlfriend?"
"I do not." He answered cocking his eyebrow at the question.
"When was your last relationship?" She asked.
"Nice try but that's two questions." He laughed.
"Your turn, truth or dare?"
"Dare!" She answered feeling brave at the moment, probably thanks to all the whiskey in her system.
Brian wasn't expecting that so he had to think for a second. He wanted this to be fun but not push it too much, "I dare you to fake sex noises for 30 seconds."
"What?!" She laughed.
"Can't say no to a dare." He smiled. "And that blushing on your face is adorable by the way."
Juliette immediately regretted her decision to start this game but reached out to taking Brian's beer from his hand and took a long sip. She then brought herself back to her dream the prior night and tried to imagine she was there.
Brian couldn't believe his ears but after so many years he was actually listening to Juliette moan in front of him. He knew she had her eyes closed because she was embarrassed but quite frankly he didn't know why, listening to her moan and pant like she was doing was the sexiest sound in the whole world. It brought him right back to their summer when he would hear these sounds almost every night.
Suddenly the sounds stopped, "Was that 30 seconds?" She asked.
"Huh?" He asked snapping back to present day reality.
"You said 30 seconds. You weren't even timing me?! Seriously!" She exclaimed smiling.
"I forgot." He admitted suddenly realizing his pants were getting a little tighter than usual.
Juliette was too drunk to realize that this task had effected Brian. "Your turn, truth or dare."
She asked secretly hoping he picked truth so she could ask him about his last relationship.
"Give me a dare." He answered.
"I dare you to...." She was trying to think but the whiskey was clouding her judgement. "Run around the entire outside of your house naked."
"Now I know we're 12 years old again." He sighed standing up to pull his T-shirt off. "Not in as good as shape as I was last time you saw me." He admitted.
As Juliette watched Brian step out of his sweatpants and boxers she couldn't help but think how wrong he was. He still looked good, real good. His ass was still amazing and although she tried really hard to not peek his front was still as impressive as she remembered. She watched from the driveway as he jogged around in the dark around his entire property. "I'm impressed, didn't think you were gonna do that." She laughed following him back inside.
Brian slipped his boxers and pants back on and turned to look at her, "You do remember what I do for a living right?"
Just the way he was looking at her reminded her of all the times he used to tease and taunt her. It always gave her butterflies. She needed distance right now. "I'm gonna go grab some water." She announced and quickly went into the kitchen.
"Pick truth." Brian said coming up from behind her.
"What?" She asked confused.
"Its your turn, pick truth." He said again.
She smiled at his immature reasoning, "OK, truth."
"Do you really wanna marry this guy?" he asked bluntly. Juliette thought her heart may have stopped. She didn't know what was more shocking; him asking the question in the first place or her not being able to come up with an answer. When she still hadn't said anything, Brian moved closer, cupping her face in his hands, "Jules?"
"Yes?" she whispered bringing her face up closer to his.
"Answer the question." he whispered back, his lips so close to hers she could feel his breath.
Suddenly the loud scream of a child was heard from upstairs. The two adults quickly took off for the stairs, Brian reaching the bedroom door first.
"Daddy!" Levi was crying in the dark.
Brian immediately turned on the light and was at his son's side. "What's wrong..." He began to ask until he realized what he just heard. "What did you just call me?"
Levi suddenly looked frightened like he did something wrong. "Levi did you just call me Daddy?" Brian asked his son. This was the first time he had ever heard this; even after finding out Levi still stuck to calling him Brian.
"It just came out." Levi responded. "Is that okay?"
Brian felt a lump beginning to form in his throat. He had been called so many different things in his life but hearing Daddy come from his child's mouth was something he knew he would never grow tired of. "It's more than okay." he said kissing the top of his son's hair. "Best thing I've ever heard." he whispered feeling that lump getting bigger by the second.
"Mommy!" Levi shouted just noticing Juliette standing in the doorway, her own emotions getting the better of her.
"How you feeling baby?" she asked taking a seat on the bed now.
"My tummy hurts." he said.
"I heard, might be all the junk you boys pigged out on." she smiled. "I'm sure you'll be fine in the morning. I just came over to make sure you were okay."
"I'm okay." the little boy smiled. "Will you both stay until I fall asleep?"
Juliette and Brian exchanged glances as Levi settled back into bed. The way Levi had laid down made it so his parents had to sit next to one another. "How about we finish the Superman comic while you doze off." Brian suggested reaching over and grabbing it off the nightstand.
As Brian read, Juliette's and Levi's eyes started getting heavy. Brian was leaned back against the headboard and wasn't surprised when he felt his son lean into him and fall asleep but what did surprise him was someone else leaning in on his other side. Looking over to his left, the mother of his child was fast asleep resting against his body.
He stopped reading and as carefully as possible flipped the lamp off placing one arm around his sleeping child and then placed his other hand over Juliette's. As Brian closed his eyes he wondered if this was how his life was supposed to be, he listened to the soft breathing of the two people he would do anything for. Tonight was a night that Brian Quinn went to sleep at complete peace.
Chapter 12: Emotional Rollarcoaster
Juliette stretched in her sleep. Her eyes were still closed but for some reason she felt so comfortable and even though her neck hurt from an awkward sleeping position she never felt more rested.
Then she finally remembered where she was; she wasn't home, she was at Brian's. It all suddenly came flooding back to her; the shots, the truth or dare game, and most of all Brian's final question; did she really wanna marry David.
Her eyes flew open and she immediately leapt off the bed. She really had slept on Brian's chest all night. Her only prayer at the moment was that Levi had been asleep all night and didn't notice, the last thing she wanted was to confuse him anymore than he already was.
Brian began to stir awake and when he opened his eyes and saw Juliette he gave her a small lazy smile. "Good morning." He whispered.
"Hi." She whispered back still freaking out on the inside.
"I got some stuff to do at work." She lied. "I'm gonna get going and come pick him up in a few hours." Before he could even respond she was out of the room making her way down the stairs. The night all started coming back to Brian however at the moment all he could do was turn to his side and watch his son sleep soundly next to him.
It was hopefully going to be a fun night. Brian was at his friend, Sal's, bar on Staten Island after a long shift at the firehouse. A few buddies from work suggested some beers before heading home for the next few days. Juliette was out to dinner with her aunt in Manhattan so Brian had texted telling her meet him when she was done.
"Well well well look who finally remembered me!" Sal yelled over when he saw his longtime friend walk in.
"I knew you'd give me shit." Brian laughed taking a seat at his usual stool in the corner.
"Sup guys!" Sal greeted the other firemen. He then turned to Brian, "Haven't seen you in almost a month!"
"Don't feel bad, Quinn's been tied up lately. Doesn't have time for anyone these days since he met...Jules." Mike, one of the firemen, said in a sighing voice making fun of his friend.
"Wait...you're seeing someone and haven't even told me?" Sal asked taking the beer back that he had just placed in front of Brian.
"I've been busy, cut me a break man." Brian responded snatching the beer back.
"Doesn't even have time for our weekend softball games anymore!" Another fireman chimed in.
"That's not true!" Brian defended, "I went to the one before the 4th but when we took off to see my parents I didn't get back in time for the next one."
"Hold up!" Sal exclaimed, "We?! You brought her to meet your parents?"
"We went for the 4th." Brian said then noticed the look he was getting, "Don't look at me like that!"
Sal stared in total shock, "I'm just saying you bring her home to meet your family before she meets your friends. The last girl you brought home was...."
"I know who it was Sal!" Brian snapped not letting him finish his sentence. The last thing he wanted to think about was his ex-fiancé. That subject was long dead and buried as far as he was concerned. "Look you done busting my balls so I can go take a piss?" He asked getting up and heading towards the bathroom.
"Whats this girl like?" Sal leaned in asking Mike. After all he was the one Q was closest to at the firehouse.
"She's actually really great man. Don't tell him I said this but if you ask me, he's already falling for her...fast."
Mike was certainly right, Juliette was great. She had been at the bar for less than an hour and Sal already loved her. She was the perfect combination of sweet and sassy, keeping Q in check but also stealing kissing every so often or nibbling on his neck when she thought no one was looking. And the girl could certainly drink. She was already on her third vodka soda and was buzzed but not an annoying drunk girl that got super loud and obnoxious.
Currently Q was off at a booth talking to a couple people he knew. Juliette stayed at the bar not wanting to be super clingy. He had been over there talking for a few minutes and Juliette noticed that he would keep looking back to smile or wink at her. It was a cute little gesture that let her know he was still keeping an eye on her.
"So Colorado, what's your story?" Sal asked pulling Juliette from her trance.
"My story?" She responded laughing.
"Well you seem to have my best friend's attention and all I know about you is you're from Colorado, met him at a fire, and will be leaving at the end of summer." Sal said recapping everything he found out in a matter of minutes.
Sal and Jules talked for a bit and the more Sal listened, the more he liked this girl for Q. She was sexy yet sweet, funny yet not in a goofy way, and intelligent but not arrogant about it.
"'Sorry one sec." Sal said seeing another guest needed a drink at the other end of the bar.
With Brian still talking to the group of guys at a table, Juliette contentedly sipped her drink until she felt a presence behind her. "Hey there sweetheart, see you're almost done with that drink. Why don't I get you another one back at my place."
"Thanks for the offer but I'm all set." She answered politely.
"Come on, Ive never seen you in here before. I can show you a really good time." He said a little more forcefully getting too close for comfort.
"I said I'm all set." She said not as nicely this time around.
Suddenly a hand came down slapping the man's back. "Take a hike Jordan." Brian commanded.
"Hey Q!" The guy greeted realizing he made a mistake hitting on this woman. "She with you?"
"Sure is, now beat it." He responded.
When Jordan walked away with his tail between his legs, Juliette couldn't help but laugh, "My hero." She cried out batting her eyelashes jokingly.
She then saw the dark look in his eyes, he only got when he was thinking something very dirty, "Whatta say we get outta here, head back to my place?" He growled.
"Can we stay for one more drink? I really like talking to Sal. He was in the middle of some pretty funny stories about you." She said smiling.
"Great." Brian grumbled wondering what kind of damage Sal was doing. He had hundreds of embarrassing stories about him.
The following couple weeks Brian was beyond busy with work. He called Levi everyday but just didn't have anytime in his schedule to see him.
It was breaking Juliette's heart that her son was missing his dad like he was. The bond they had formed so quickly was definitely remarkable. Today was the day of the Impractical Jokers Live 100th episode. "You sure you don't wanna come?" She asked David who was distracted with something on his laptop.
"Huh?" He asked closing the top quickly.
"The show tonight. You sure you don't wanna come with us?" Juliette repeated.
"Nah I'm good." David answered.
"You do understand Brian is gonna be a part of our lives forever right, would it kill you to try and get along with the man?" She snapped. A part of Juliette felt guilty not telling David about her night at Brian's but nothing happened and honestly when he acted like such a dick, her guilt definitely lessened.
"He's a part of Levi's life, not mine." David responded sharply.
"Well if you're gonna marry me, my son's father will be in the picture!" She barked getting pretty annoyed with him at the moment.
"The man that's been his father for 5 fucking seconds?!" David responded rolling his eyes.
"I'm going to wake Levi and get outta here, have fun by yourself!" Juliette yelled as she stormed out of the room.
Her one condition with Levi staying out late tonight was that he had to take a nap. When she entered his room he was still sound asleep and she took a second to admire the little person she created. It still amazed her how much he looked like his dad.
Juliette and Levi were greeted by a member of the production crew at the parking garage who was going to lead them to where they had to be. She handed them both backstage passes so they could go to any of the restricted areas. Brian certainly made this very simple for them.
"Dad!!" Levi shouted when he spotted Brian behind the gated off area.
"Buddy!" Brian called out picking up his son for a huge hug and a kiss to the top of his head.
"Did you miss me?" The little boy asked.
"Err kinda." Brian said making an unsure face then cracked a smile.
"Yeah you did!" Levi screamed in laughter.
"Hey Jules." Brian smiled seeing her standing off to the side.
"Hi." She smiled shyly. Seeing him in this element was a bit intimidating. His face was posted everywhere, so many fans were gathered all around to see him. She saw so many women with "Team Q" T-shirt's and signs saying "I Love Q!" Part of her smiled inside because at one time she had what these ladies desired.
"Come here, I wanna introduce you to some people." He said leading Juliette over to a group of people with Levi in his arms.
Juliette swore she must have met 50 people. All of them were members of Brian's crew and were so welcoming. She smiled seeing him introduce Levi as his son with such pride.
What she didn't hear was a conversation taking place on the other side of the room. "Did we take a time machine to the past?" Bryan Johnson asked Sal.
"You ain't kidding." Sal laughed.
"They just fit together...always have." Bryan commented.
As Juliette looked around the room she instantly saw a familiar face. "You gonna come over here and say hi or what?!" Bessy Gatto called out.
Juliette smile was so bright and she made her way across the room pulled her old friend in for a hug. "I should be mad at you for never keeping in touch but I'm so happy to see you, I don't even care." Bessy laughed.
"Things just got so complicated. I'm so sorry." Juliette apologized. That's summer, the two had spent so many fun times together. At the time Bessy and Joe had been dating for about a year already and the two women clicked instantly.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure you were under a lot of stress." Bessy said. She then looked over at Brian holding Levi, "It's truly unbelievable how much he looks like Brian."
"Oh my god, tell me about it!" She laughed. "I look at him everyday and still can't believe it. Where's your little girl?"
"My parents are bringing her in a little bit." Bessy answered.
"This is all so crazy." Juliette said.
"The show? Tell me about it. To be honest I thought it would be a one season thing but it took off and now 100 episodes later, here we are!" Bessy laughed.
"Is it okay to interrupt?" A voice came from behind the two women.
"Hey!" Juliette exclaimed hugging Joe first, then Sal, then Murray.
"It's been such a long time." Murray said smiling.
"Be honest, how much do you all hate me?" She asked.
"We could never hate you Colorado, stop it." Sal said immediately.
"It's all in the past now." Joe added, "Besides, look how happy they are together." He said looking back. Brian had Levi by the hand and was taking him around to look at all the cameras and equipment set up.
Juliette smiled as she watched her son ask his dad 1,000 questions and laughed as Brian answered every single one. They really were two peas in a pod now.
"Let's grab a drink!" Bessy said pushing Juliette over to the table loaded with food, beer, wine, and other refreshments that the Jokers had set up for their friends and family.
After laughing and talking for close to an hour, Juliette couldn't remember a time she had so much fun. That summer,not only did she leave Brian behind but she left all of these wonderful people that had been so welcoming to her.
"Juliette." A women's voice came from behind her.
She turned to see Carol, Brian's mom. Her stomach dropped for a minute because she couldn't help but think of their last encounter. Carol must have picked up on this because she instantly pulled the younger woman in for a hug. "The past is the past, let's move forward." She whispered in her ear.
"Thank you." Juliette chocked out wiping a tear.
Very shortly after the rest of Brian's family started pouring in and it was another reunion for Juliette's emotions to try and handle. They were asking to meet Levi and she had to laugh because truth was she hadn't even seen her son since they got here.
"There they are!" She yelled finally seeing them up on stage. Levi was running around looking at all the stuff set up. The two boys hopped down and Levi had a chance to meet uncles and cousins he had never seen before.
Brian then looked up in the sky at the tightrope. "I'm gonna take him up in the elevator before I gotta start getting ready."
"What elevator?" She asked. Brian smirked and pointed to the large lift that would be bringing each Joker up to the tightrope. "Are you insane?!" She exclaimed.
"He'll be fine Jules." Brian insisted. "I'll have him hooked to the harness. I already tried it earlier, it's perfectly safe."
"Brian I really don't want him up that high." She continued to argue.
"Will you stop making him afraid of the world!" Brian started to raise his voice. "I'll be right there with him for Christ sakes."
Everyone around was starting to notice the argument they were having and looked uneasily at each other.
"I'm not making him afraid of the world! I'm his mother it's my job to protect him!" She responded now getting really frustrated.
"And I'm his father! You think I would let anything happen to him?!" He asked. "You really need to stop fighting me on everything and let me be a dad, not just a babysitter."
That sentence that just came out of Brian's mouth hit her like a ton of bricks. "You're absolutely right. I do."
She looked around at everyone in the room and the expressions of surprise and worry on their faces. It was then that she noticed Levi in the corner looking very frightened by all the yelling. "You wanna go up there with your daddy Levi?" She asked.
"Uh huh." The little boy said soft nodding his head.
"Alright Fine." She sighed, "You win Quinn."
Juliette and Levi watched the show from beside the stage with the rest of the Jokers' friends, families, and crew members. High above them was the tightrope. Joe,Sal, and Murr had already gone and none of them successfully made it across.
Juliette could hear production and people from the network talking around her about how stupid this would all be in the end if none of the guys made it across the entire rope.
"Q!" Simmy, one of the producers from Tru, yelled. "You gotta nail this buddy. We're counting on this." He then got called away to do something in the production truck.
"No pressure." Brian mumbled to himself taking a deep breath.
"Back from commercial in 45 seconds. Q you gotta start heading up." A member of the crew called out.
"Give me a hug for good luck bud." Brian said kneeling down in front of his son. The little mini Brian wrapped his arms around his dad's neck so tight. Everyone looked down with smiles on their faces. It amazed most of how quickly Brian had adapted to being a dad and already how much Levi looked up to him.
As he stood up he locked eyes with Juliette. "You got this Fireboy. Go kill it." She smiled.
The look he saw in her eyes just now was different than any other time he had seen her since reentering his life. For that split second he was taken back to that summer where she would hug him tight tell him to be careful at work and give him that same look she was giving him now. "Q! Let's go man!" He heard someone call out pulling him back to present day.
Everyone was on the edge of their seats. The three remaining Jokers were on stage watching their friend attempt the walk. Juliette held Levi up in her arms to get a better view. Brian's mom was holding her husband's arm so tight her knuckles were turning white. His nieces and nephews were cheering "Go Uncle Brian!"
Juliette held her breath as he took his first couple steps. "Come on Brian." She whispered to herself, "Come on."
"Holy shit, he's actually gonna do it!" Juliette heard someone from the crowd yell when he was more than halfway across. And they were right because after a few more steps Brian had actually reached the other side grabbing the pole tightly with one arm and raising his other in the air.
The camera zoomed in on Sal's face of total shock and disbelief. Everyone was yelling and jumping up and down, Juliette included. She placed Levi down on the ground and watched as he cheered for his dad as well next to his new cousins.
After Brian was lowered to the ground he was supposed to report directly to the stage for an after-show but he took a detour. "Dad!" Levi shouted when he saw him running towards him. He picked him up laughing at how excited the little kid was. "That was so cool!" Levi shouted.
When he put Levi down who continued to jump around with his older cousins, he smiled at his son's mother. Without thinking he pulled her in for a hug.
Juliette didn't know what came over her when she was wrapped up in his arms and she wasn't sure if it was the joy of being close to him again or just the excitement going on around her but before she could stop herself she connected her lips to his and kissed him softly.
"Q! Q!" Joe called from the stage, "We need you up here!"
Brian looked at the stage then back to Juliette. "Umm... I gotta..." he stuttered his brain not even being able to process what just happened.
"Q! Now! We're going live!" Sal shouted.
"I gotta go." He said turning around and booking it to the stage.
"Did you just..." Bessy asked coming up to her after witnessing the whole thing.
"I don't know why I just did that." Juliette answered completely confused by not only her actions but the emotions she was feeling. That small kiss caused her to feel things she hadn't felt in years.
Chapter 13: Fires Need to Burn
"Hold up girlfriend!" Bessy yelled in the parking garage.
"Bessy I really wanna get Levi home. It's late. Let's get dinner this week." She said trying to hurry.
"Absolutely not! I want answers woman!" Bessy exclaimed.
Juliette groaned buckling a sleepy Levi into his car seat then shut the door. "What?" She asked throwing her hands up.
"Umm...you kissed him." Bessy said matter of factly like Juliette didn't know what she had done.
"It was just a celebration kiss, you're reading too much into it." Juliette defended. "Look I'm tired and I know Levi is too. I just wanna get home. Dinner this week like we said?"
"Mmhmm. Text me." Bessy said leery. As Juliette was about to get into the driver's side she was stopped again, "Hey Jules?" she said.
"Oh my god Bessy what?!" She groaned.
"Glad to have you back." She smiled.
"Me too." Juliette smiled back, "Can I go now?"
Back across the street at the event, the guys had finally finished all the press and were returning to their family and friends. Brian's brother noticed him looking around. "They left." He told Brian.
"Without saying bye?" Brian asked.
"Honestly Levi looked like he was gonna pass out at any second." Danny said.
"Quinn! You coming out to celebrate?!" A member of the crew shouted.
"Yeah, I'm in!" he answered trying to put his game face on but in the back of his mind, all he could think about was that kiss.
"God, I don't remember you being this pushy!" Juliette laughed after she finished ordering her second martini.
"We've been here for 25 minutes already and you haven't said anything yet!" Bessy exclaimed throwing her hand up and accidently tipping her glass of red wine over.
Both girls started laughing uncontrollable, "Geez you don't have to start throwing stuff at me!"
After the waiter came over and helped clean the mess, Juliette finally exploded, "I don't know why I did it okay! You ever feel like when you're with one person you're one way but then when you are with someone else, you are another way?"
Bessy looked up questionably, "Not sure I'm following."
Juliette then sighed trying to figure out how to explain this, "Like with Brian, when we are together I feel like I'm that young carefree girl when I met him. But that girl wasn't a mom and besides a cell phone bill, had no real responsibilities. And David is secure and who I saw myself marrying."
"Listen, obviously I'm a little bias because I love Q so I'll try to give you the best advice I can. People change and grow up. You became a mom, I get it but that just because you're a mom doesn't mean that you can't be carefree from time to time. And as far as secure goes, its not like Q doesn't have a steady job and is sleeping on his mother's couch. But none of that matters, what matters is where your heart is and if its with David than you should close that chapter with Q and just think of him as Levi's dad."
"I never forgot Brian, I mean my kid has his face." She chuckled, "But I really thought I was happy with David even after reconnecting with Brian."
"But...?" Bessy said digging for more to the story.
"He's been acting very strange the past few months." Juliette said.
"How?" Bessy asked.
"Well he is always on his computer. Like he works a lot but its becoming excessive. And anytime I walk into the room he shuts it right away and looked nervous." She explained.
"Do you think he's cheating?" Bessy asked.
Juliette took another sip of her martini and shrugged her shoulders.
Overall it was a great girls night out. After talking about the heavy stuff they put all that aside and talked about kids, Bessy and Joe's wedding a couple years ago, and Juliette's clothing line which Bessy was over the moon excited to come to her store.
David was passed out on the couch when she got home, his laptop resting on the coffee table. She had never been a person to disrespect someone's privacy but it was getting to the point that she couldn't take it anymore. He had become so distant and was constantly doing something on his computer. She grabbed it and snuck into the kitchen to hopefully find some answers. When she sat down and opened it, what she found almost made her sick to her stomach.
10 o'clock at night and someone was actually at his door. Brian didn't know whether to be worried or annoyed. He looked out the window and went pale with concern when he saw Jules standing outside with Levi sleeping against her shoulder.
He flung the door opened, "Are you okay?!"
"Can we come in?" She asked shyly.
"Get in here." He ordered then suddenly noticed her eyes were red and puffy.
"Can you put him upstairs?" She asked referencing their still sleeping son, "I feel awful I literally ripped him out of bed."
Brian immediately took him from his mother and quietly brought him upstairs. When he returned she was sitting on the couch with her head in her hands. "I'm so sorry, I just showed up like this, I just didn't know where to go. If I went to my aunt's I would have had to answer a lot of questions that I just didn't want to."
"Jules what happened?" Brian asked. She was quiet for a moment, not wanting to actually say the words out loud. "Jules..." He said again when she wouldn't talk.
"Have you ever heard of this website called Madison's Angels?" she asked him.
"Brian cocked his head to the side. The call girl site?" he asked.
"I guess that's what you would call it." she responded. "Have you been on it?"
"Couple guys from work go on it for fun sometimes. They just look at hot girls on their webcams but from what I heard some guys drop some serious cash on there." He then stopped talking when he saw Juliette's face. "Wait a minute...David?"
"It was all on his laptop. His credit card information, all his recent chats with girls thanking him for money that he's sent them." She said feeling herself choke up actually saying everything out loud.
Brian couldn't hold it in anymore and burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard, it turned into a cough but when he saw the look of shock and hurt on Juliette's face he quieted down, "I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you. Its just....I can't stand this fucking guy and honestly didn't think he could get anymore pathetic. But now to hear he's watching broads online take their clothes off and he's sending them money. I mean Jesus Christ!" He remembered guys at work telling him about the site. Personally he had never been on it but he knew that there were free shows you could watch but to get the really raunchy freaky stuff, you had to personally send the girls money through the website.
She wasn't sure how Brian was going to react but she didn't think he was going to laugh in her face. Right now she was beyond humiliated and considered heading to her aunt's now.
"Jules, I'm sorry. I'm not meaning to laugh. I just think the whole thing is insane." Brian apologized realizing by her face that he was hurting her feelings.
Juliette looked down at the floor in shame, she couldn't believe she was actually going to tell him this, "When I confronted him about it, he said it was because since coming to New York, I've become boring in the bedroom. These girls turn him on in ways that I never could." That was when the tears began to fall and she buried her face shaking uncontrollably. Brian quickly pulled her in for a tight hug and stroked the back of her hair like he used to do so many times. She popped her head up still crying but through the tears managed to speak, "Like seriously, a girl on a computer screen is better than me, like what is wrong with me where I can't turn on my own boyfriend."
"Stop it." Brian said pulling her back so he could look at her. "You forget I've had you and I haven't been able to find another woman on this planet that turns me on like you turned me on." Brian then let out a soft laugh, "And I hope you don't take this the wrong way but believe me, since you left I've tried to find a girl that even comes close and still haven't managed to find one."
"That was over five years ago, maybe I have lost it." She argued through tears.
Brian shook his head, "Listen, I see the old Juliette pop up every now and then...even with your nasty fucking kale smoothies and no junk food rules." he joked managing to get a tiny smile from her. "You wanna know what I really think?"
"What?" she asked wiping her nose with her sleeve.
"I think this asshole made you think you had to be a certain way. If you're boring, its because he doesn't know how to keep that fire going. And maybe back then, I put out fires for a living but when it came to you, I certainly knew how to keep it burning." he said in a deep husky voice that sent a small shiver down her spine. "A man that has to look to the fucking internet for pleasure when he has a woman at home, clearly doesn't know what the fuck he's doing."
"You don't think I'm boring?" she asked sniffling.
"The Juliette that busts my balls every chance she gets and makes me play a naughty version of truth or dare just to sneak a peek at my junk is definitely not boring." He answered with a smile. "And don't even try to convince me you didn't look because I caught you a few times." "You are a mother to a little boy that drives you crazy 90 percent of the day who is also trying to get her business off the ground. Obviously I doubt you're coming home horny everyday but I'm sure when you are with the right guy that makes you horny, you still know how to impress."
"Thank you." she said through watery eyes, "And again I'm sorry to just barge in but I didn't wanna stay there."
"You and my son come here anytime." Brian responded.
"And thanks for the boost in confidence. Guess just seeing all of this makes me feel pretty shitty about myself." she said, her sad expression returning.
"Give me a minute." Brian said, an idea suddenly dawning on him. "Be right back."
Brian walked into the kitchen and dialed someone he knew he could count on.
"It's late, this better be important Q." Sal answered annoyed.
"How much you love me?" Brian asked.
"Whatta want Q?!" Sal demanded loudly.
"I need a sitter...right now." Brian said.
Juliette had her head resting on a couch cushion replaying everything in her head. Brian had run upstairs and a few minutes later came down changed into jeans and hoodie. Just when she was about to ask him what he was doing, there was a knock at the door. Her heart dropping instantly thinking he was expecting someone and there would be a woman on the other side of that door so when he opened it and saw Sal she was confused but relieved.
"Where the cats?" Sal asked before even entering the house.
"I locked them in my bedroom, relax." Brian said rolling his eyes.
"What are you doing here?" Juliette asked him.
"He's here to stay with Levi. We are going out." Brian said coming up from behind her.
"What?" She questioned.
"You need to just go out and have fun. Remember that fire Jules. Come on." he said passing over her sweater.
"Should we call and check on Levi?" Juliette asked.
"Believe me if he woke up, Sal would be calling." Brian answered. "Would you chill out?"
They had been out for an hour and she was still nursing her first drink. "Where's the Jules that would split an entire bottle of Jameson with me in one night?" He asked.
"I don't know how we didn't get alcohol poisoning that summer." She laughed taking another sip of wine.
Brian grabbed the wine glass from her, "Enough with this. You need something stronger." "Excuse me." He stopped the cocktail waitress, "Can we get two shots of Jameson please."
"I'll be right back." She replied.
When the shots returned she downed her immediately then stopped the waitress before she disappeared again. "Can we get two Don Julio shots now?"
"Tequila?!" Brian laughed. Even he stayed away from that stuff.
"Perfect!" She exclaimed when they returned quickly. Close to every bar on Staten Island knew the Jokers so needless to say, Q always got fast and excellent service.
"Bottoms up Fireboy." She slurred clinking her glass with him. "Whoa!" She coughed feeling the burn going down her throat.
"Shit." Brian mumbled clearing his throat grabbing his beer to chase it quickly.
"Truth or dare?" Juliette asked.
"Not this again." Brian laughed rolling his eyes.
"Just pick! One time I promise!" She whined.
"Truth." Brian said.
"Was I really the best you've ever had or where you just saying that to make me feel better?" She asked.
"I would say it if it wasn't true." Brian answered with a smirk.
"Do you really think I'm boring now?" She asked.
"I think you're with someone that makes you question who you are. I met the man for half a second and already could tell he wasn't deserving of you. And I'm not just saying that because I could kill to get in your pants." He responded.
Juliette threw her head back in a fit of laughter. "We did used to get pretty crazy didn't we?"
"You kidding?!" Brian shouted in the loud bar they were at. "I leaned you up against a tree in Central Park and fucked you until I had to cum in a flower bed."
Juliette's face instantly turned red at the memory. Her panties also started getting wet reliving that day. All Brian ever had to do was look at her a certain way and she crumbled at his feet.
"You're thinking about it aren't you?" Brian asked pulling her from inside her own head.
"You'll never know." She smiled up at him. "You know what we should do?" She asked.
"What's that?" He asked.
"Isn't there a strip club down the street?" She responded.
"Something tells me I just released a monster." He laughed. "We'll take the tab sweetheart." He said flagging down their waitress immediately.
When they entered Xsess Club, the lights were low, the music was high, and the girls were hot. This certainly wasn't Juliette's first time but it was the first time she went with a man.
"Hey Q!" One of the girls walking by greeted.
"You come here a lot?" Juliette asked, a ping of jealousy running through her body.
"I'm a single guy, it happens occasionally." He answered leading her to an empty spot at the stage.
Juliette watched as the girls spun around and danced for them. She was always so fascinated by the things they could do. "She's really good." Juliette said leaning into Brian so he could hear her.
"You're not even watching!" She laughed when she noticed he hadn't even looked at the girls on stage.
"Something else has my attention." He whispered then handed her another stack of ones. As Juliette watched and threw down more money, Brian studied her body. Up until now he had thoughts about her but kept them under control however tonight he looked every curve up and down. Her tits were still fantastic and right now sat nicely under her low cut T-shirt. He couldn't help but wonder if having Levi gave her these new curves but they fit her body perfectly. When they were together her ass was nice but a lot smaller; now it was a lot rounder and fuller. It had become his new favorite thing about her.
After the song had ended Brian looked around and noticed people starting to look over at him. He leaned in to whisper to Juliette, "I think I'm getting recognized, mind if we move back there?" He asked pointing to the couches in the back that were away from the crowd.
A very skimpy dressed cocktail waitress came over to see if they wanted more drinks and after placing their order, Juliette's head started to spin from all the alcohol consumed so quickly. She leaned into Brian who instinctively placed his arm around her pulling her close.
"You having fun?" He asked leaning down to her ear.
"I really am." She smiled.
"Good you needed this." He laughed. Just when he was about to ask her what she planned to do about David, she spoke first.
"Kiss me." She said.
"What?" He asked almost positive he didn't hear her right.
"You heard me, kiss me. Right now, kiss me like you used to." She commanded.
He knew it was a bad idea but right now, didn't care. He pulled her close covering her lips with his. Her mouth immediately opened inviting his tongue in. He stroke her tongue with his, tasting her for the first time in over 5 years.
“Fucking hell.” Juliette moaned against his kisses as she pushed up to straddle his lap. She continued to kiss him and then raked her fingers through his long hair. Something she never did before since it was so short when she knew him. It was different but she liked it and especially enjoyed hearing him growl as she pulled at his hard harder.
Brian placed his arms behind her and grabbed her ass squeezing it hard making her fall against him. He felt her right on top of him and knew he wasn’t imagining it when she ground herself against his hardening cock.
“Oh my god, yes.” She moaned as she felt him through his jeans. “I miss that so much.” She whispered as she kissed down his neck. Juliette continued licking and sucking on him as she moved her body to the music of the club.
“You gotta stop bouncing on me like that Jules.” He laughed.
“No way.” She answered going back to attack his mouth with hot messy kisses. With the way she was sitting on him, her breasts were in perfect view and he broke her kisses to look down her shirt. “So fucking beautiful.” He said softly staring at them. Brian then placed soft kisses and little licks and bites to the top of them.
“Excuse me.” A laughing young women interrupted. “Do I need to offer you both a private room?”
The pair exchanged looks and both started laughing, “Sorry, guess we got a bit carried away.” Juliette apologized.
“We’re heading out anyways.” Brian added.
As they walked outside Brian let her go a little bit in front of him so he could take another chance to watch her ass. He groaned to himself admiring it.
Juliette didn’t get in the Jeep, instead she pushed Brian up again the red vehicle and continued to kiss him passionately. “Fuck do I want you Brian. I’m done pretending.” She said then reached her hand down to massage him over his pants.
“Pretend what baby?” He asked as he closed his eyes in pleasure.
“Pretend that I don’t think about this all too often” she said squeezing him roughly. “Pretend that when I’m in bed alone I don’t touch myself thinking of you and how you would own my body every time.” Juliette admitted. Even though she had a lot to drink tonight, she had had never thought clearer. No one ever turned her on like Brian Quinn. “Take me home Brian, take me home and fuck me.” She whispered against his ear biting down on his earlobe.
It was then that Brian had a decision to make and as much as his balls would hate him for it later, he pushed her back. “What’s wrong?” Juliette asked.
Brian took a couple steps and let a huge breath out. “I can’t believe I’m gonna say this but I can’t Jules.” He then took her left hand and focused on her engagement ring, “The truth is right now you belong to another man and if I’m to have your body again, I don’t want that over our heads.”
Juliette let out a frustrated sigh, “You’re right. Guess I have a lot of stuff to figure out.”
“Come on, let’s get back.” Brian said opening the door for her to get in. She hopped in and leaned back against the headrest missing fun carefree Juliette more than ever right now.
Brian drove back to his house feeling his balls already ache from not releasing. He focused on the road as he navigated the streets thinking about all the women he had been with that had boyfriends or husbands but Jules was different...she was always different. When he had her again, he wanted to be sure no one was in the back of her mind.
Chapter 14: Prove It
"What's wrong?" Brian finally asked when they pulled into the driveway. The pair had been quiet the whole drive home.
"Too much to drink too fast." she lied giving him a fake smile.
"You wanna tell me the truth or what?" Brian asked. Even after all these years, he knew he like a book.
"I guess I'm just trying to figure out how my life got some complicated." She sighed.
Brian cocked his head to the side, "What's so complicated?" he asked in confusion.
"I'm just trying to think what I should do?" she answered.
"Do about what? You thinking of giving that fucking slimeball a second chance?!" He asked raising his voice.
"It's just things could get hard. I mean we are both on the lease to the house. We were supposed to be getting married. I guess I'm just confused." Juliette responded.
Brian was dumbfounded. He felt himself grip the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were losing color. "Let me get this straight, this guy is basically having online sex with other women for money and you are honestly thinking of forgetting about that because you share a fucking lease? Break the fucking thing!"
"It's just I didn't even give him a chance to explain..." Juliette said, feeling herself slipping into her old ways. For so long all her family wanted was for her to find a man and give Levi a family. So she settled on the first one that seemed like a good guy. Even though she wasn’t completely ever happy, being with David was safe and what everyone wanted. So she put everyone’s feelings before her own.
Brian just shook his head, "You are un-fucking-believable Juliette." If his tone didn't give away that he was mad, the simple fact that he called her by her full name was a dead give away. He almost never called her Juliette.
"Brian I just..." she began but was immediately shut down.
"You just what?!" he exclaimed. "You just wanted a fun night with me, let me take you upstairs and fuck you, make you feel better than you have in years, and then go back to him?!"
"Would you stop?!" she yelled, "It's not like that. Will you let me explain?"
"NO!" Brian shouted getting out of his jeep but before he shut the driver's door he turned and looked her in the eye, "What happened to you? The Jules I knew would never forgive an asshole like that. I started to see her come back to life tonight; didn't last very long I see." He added then slammed the door to the jeep causing Juliette to jump.
"Hey man." Sal said groggily from the couch. He had just started dozing off when he heard the front door open. "Guys have fun?"
"Oh yeah, fucking great time." Brian snapped sarcastically.
"Everything okay?" Sal asked obviously sensing the tension and frustration from his friend. Quickly Juliette entered the house behind Brian looking like she could burst into tears at any moment.
"We're fine." Brian barked. "Thanks for coming over, I'll talk to you tomorrow." Brian said coldly.
Sal Vulcano had known his best friend long enough to know when to push an issue and when to leave it alone for the time being. Tonight was a night to leave it alone for now. He quickly gathered his stuff and headed home, hoping whatever happened would be squared away in the morning.
Without even looking at Juliette, Brian made his way to the kitchen to find a bite to eat. He knew he shouldn't head to bed on an empty stomach. While he rustled in his cabinets, he felt her enter the room. "Would it kill you to stop being such a stubborn prick and see things from my side!?" she exclaimed.
Brian whipped around, his eyes growing darker by the second. "Me?!" he yelled back, "Why don't you take your own advice and see things from my side!?" He was now standing toe to toe with her, anger building in the pit of his stomach, "You basically wanted to use me for sex and go back to some asshole who clearly doesn't give a damn about your feelings!"
"That's what you really think I was doing? Using you?" she asked.
"Sure seems like it." Brian answered coldly shrugging his shoulders.
"Oh wow, you must not think that much of me." she responded. "I never said I was going back to him. What I meant was I have a lot of stuff to figure out. We share things together, not as simple as ending a fucking summer relationship. You outta know, you're fucking good at doing that!" she yelled as tears started to burn her eyes. All the anger she had built up inside towards Brian for never calling her was starting to come out.
"Oh Jesus fucking Christ!" Brian shouted, "Phone works two ways, and mine never rang either Juliette. Not even when you found out you were having my fucking kid!"
"You want the truth?!" She yelled, "The truth is I was so fucking in love with you and you just let me go so easily Brian."
It was in the moment that Brian Quinn's world stopped. "What did you just say?" he asked. All these years, he knew Juliette cared for him that summer but he never had any sort of idea that she felt the same way he did.
"I said I loved you. I fell in love with you that summer and truth be told if you would have asked me to stay in New York with you, I wouldn't have thought twice. I loved you then and I love you now. I never fucking stopped." Her tears were not longer containable and as Juliette Dawson continued to pour her heart out to the one man she was convinced she had ever truly loved, her cheeks became damp. "It's not fair. I feel like I am two different people and I am so tired of it!" she yelled feeling her breaking point come completely undone. "With him I have to be put together at all times, and at times I feel so suffocated and then you come back into my life and remind me how fun life can be and its a part of myself that was gone." She paused to take a couple deep breaths. "So when you asked outside what happened to me...a light just went off. I don't wanna be this person anymore."
Brian's head was spinning and it wasn’t from all he had to drink. As the mother of his child poured her entire heart and soul out to him he stared in silence. She loved him, she actually loved him. He wasn't just some guy that knocked her up that she as forced to deal with now. Words that Brian should have said years ago we're now flowing out of her mouth. The truth was no matter how much time had past, he never stopped thinking about her, and deep down he knew he never stopped loving her. That is why he didn't even have to think twice about his next actions.
Picking her up using one arm, he held her tightly against him as he kissed her hard. He could feel her tears against his own face but ignored it because if it were up to him she would never cry again. Using his free arm, he swiped everything off of the kitchen table and sat her on top of it. Their lips had yet to break apart. She was kissing him just as hard. These kisses were not sweet, they were hungry aggressive kisses. The passion in these few moments was more than either had felt in years. "I was a fucking idiot." Brian growled finally pulling away just to ripe her shirt off throwing it to the floor. He then attacked her neck with licks,kisses, and bites.
Juliette was moaning in pleasure. Brian was being rougher than anything she had ever experienced. His hands were busy working her bra off and grabbing at her tits. His beard was burning her skin as it traveled down her body. His hard member that was still confined to his pants was pressed up against her leg. "Lift up." He whispered.
Juliette did as she was told and lifted her hips so Brian could wiggle her pants off, again tossing them to the floor. He then backed up to admire what was before him. Laying on the kitchen table with her bare chest rising and falling with heavy breaths was a sight he never thought he would see again. He licked his lips as his eyes traveled down to her panties. Her most intimate and from what he could remember, tasty, area covered in a soft baby pink lace material.
Juliette couldn't stand the anticipation any longer. She remembered this well, how good he was, how amazing he used to make her feel. "God Brian please just fucking do it already." She begged putting her forearm over her face, almost as a way to help her keep it together.
He couldn't help but laugh; he was loving this. Seeing how frustrated she was becoming. "Do what baby?" He asked knowing very well what she wanted, what she needed.
"Stop torturing me." She whined trying to bring her hips up closer to his face.
"Am I torturing you?" He smiled as he pushed her hips back down to the table.
"Brian for the love of Christ, just eat my god damn pussy!" She exclaimed.
"Such a mouth on you Juliette." He teased. Before he was to start a thorough job on the most amazing pussy he had ever seen, he needed to say one more thing. So he brought himself down on top of her kissing her mouth a few more times. Juliette whined a bit at this because even though Brian Quinn was an amazing kisser, that's not what she needed right now. "Jules?" He said to get her full attention.
"Yeah?" She answered.
"I have loved you for a very long time. I was so stupid for not telling you then but I'm telling you now." He said for a second the darkness in his eyes disappeared and was replaced with a loving look.
Her heart was ready to explode, words she had hoped to hear 5 years ago were finally being said. She smiled at him then grabbed his neck pulling him down to kiss her again. When they broke apart, her need for him only intensified. "Are you gonna eat me out now?" She asked.
Bending his head back in laughter, Brian was both stunned and very turned on at the moment. "I tell you I love you and that's how you respond?!" He laughed.
"I can't help it." She whined, "Wanna see if it's as good as my memory tells me."
"I can promise it is." Brian said once again kissing down her body.
"Prove it." She muttered under her breath but Brian heard her and the second she saw the look in his eyes, she knew she messed up.
In two swift movements her panties had joined the rest of her clothes on the floor and her legs were immediately pulled opened. "Prove it huh?" He repeated. "Tell me something, when was the last time you were this wet? When was the last time you're perfect little clit was sucked and pleasured until you came so hard you couldn't fucking breath?"
Juliette wiggled under him knowing he was about to rock her body. He was older and as much as she didn't wanna think about it, even more experienced than before. "I'm waiting for an answer Juliette." He ordered. "How long as it been since you were completely satisfied?"
"Summer 2010." She finally said giving him the answer he had been hoping for.
It was like that was the secret password that unlocked the gate because before she knew what was happening, Brian's mouth attacked her. His tongue didn't even bother teasing her since she was already soaking wet. It immediately entered her hard. He moved it side to side, up and down, circled round and round. Then took her clit and sucked it until she was just a moaning mess underneath him.
"So fucking amazing. God baby you taste so good." Brian said once he came up for air. Juliette glanced down to make sure he wasn't stopping and blushed when she saw how wet his face was.
As he went in for round two, Juliette couldn't even speak, all she could do was moan and yelp out when he would bite down on her. Brian continued lapping up every bit of her. After finally letting go of the kitchen table beneath her, she brought her hands down and grabbed onto his thick hair pulling it as he continued to pleasure her. "Brian please don't stop." She managed to choke out.
"I have no intentions baby. I've seen the way you can come, I ain't done yet." He said sinking back on her. For this round he went about it a little slower, feeling he proved his point. Brian now took his time licking up and down her sensually. He inserted two fingers as he moved his tongue up and down. As he felt her walls begin to tighten again, his fingers picked up speed and it wasn't long until he tasted what he had been waiting for. "Jesus Jules." He whispered as he cleaned up every last drop.
Once he was satisfied he looked up and saw a woman laid out on his kitchen table that was fighting to breathe. After taking a few moments she began shaking with laughter. "You've got to be kidding me!"
"Don't ever tell me to prove it again." He smiled with a whisper against her lips placing a soft kiss to them.
When he tried to stand back up, he felt her pull him down again by the neck. Brian stayed put looking in her eyes. She brought her hand up to stroke his hair and move some strands away from his eyes. "I do love you."
Brian smiled. Words he had been so scared to hear from any other girl, sounded so natural from her lips. "I love you too Jules. I always have." It was then that he remembered the elephant in the room. "And if you need time to straighten this mess out, I understand."
"I just don't see him being willing to move out when the house is just as much his as it is mine. And if I'm being honest, I don't think I wanna stay there anyway. New York was supposed to be a fresh start and if I'm in a house I shared with him I don't feel like I'll ever truly forget what he's been doing."
"We can find someone to watch Levi tomorrow and I'll go over there with you. I don't really like the idea of you alone with him at this point." Brian suggested.
"Can we just figure this all out tomorrow?" Juliette asked, her head felt so heavy. Just the thought of bringing Brian over was logically only going to lead to a fight between the two.
"Let's get upstairs to bed." Brian sighed realizing that Juliette was going to complicate this entire thing. When they reached the top of the stairs, Brian cracked open Levi’s door to check on the sleeping boy. He couldn't help think that even if things got complicated, this little boy had to stay first priority.