Chapter 1: And so it begins...
WEDNESDAY - FLORENCE CAFÈ OUTSIDE OF PITTSBURGH
"So, what do you want me to do?" Cody asked. Lindsay and Michael had called him on Tuesday, asking for a meeting. The undercover agent had to keep his smile in check to make sure Justin's husband won't ever have to deal with those two idiots. Cody and Brian had never met but he knew that the brunette made his cousin happy and for Cody, that's all that matters. He would do anything to help and support his blonde cousin.
"We want you to hurt someone. Badly." Lindsay told him.
"You have to kill someone for us." Michael said at the same time.
Cody groaned inwardly. Those two idiots really were stupid. They couldn't even wrap their heads about what they actually wanted. "What is it?" He asked, his tone deadly serious with a strong hint of annoyance. "Hurt or kill? Make up your mind, I have better things to do."
Lindsay looked at Michael and sighed. "How much would we need to pay for you to kill the intruder we need to get rid off?"
"Easy. Hurting someone is $10,000. You want me to kill that person? It's $50,000." Cody told them, acting all bored.
"THAT MUCH?" Michael shrieked.
"What do you think? I have to kill a person. That means I have to observe said person, make sure there won't be any witnesses, he has to be dead and I need to get away right after. So payment is upfront. No contact after the job is done. And once I have the payment there won't be any contact either." Cody explained the rules to the idiot named Michael.
"Okay. Lindsay and I will have the money by Friday. We'll meet at 5pm here again with the money and infos about your target." Michael said, got up and walked out of the small café, leaving Lindsay to pay their bill.
SAME TIME - BRITIN
"But daddy, I want to stay here with you and papa. Jenny should stay, too. It's better than with the moms. Momma is great but mommy isn't. She will talk badly about papa and I don't want to hear it." Gus said defiantly.
Brian shook his head in desperation. He hated to let Gus go back home but they had to act like nothing was different. Mel took the week off to make sure Lindsay doesn't do anything do hurt either of the children. "Gus, momma will be with you and Jenny all the time. If you don't go home your mommy will raise all kinds of hell and we don't want that. It's only for a couple of days, a week or two. Not longer. Then you and Jenny will be staying with us forever. Justin told Mel to move in so you and Jenny could be together and your momma agreed. It's all going to be okay, sonny boy. I promise." The brunette told his son gently.
"Okay, but only because I know you never break your promises." The young boy finally agreed, albeit reluctantly.
The boy might be young but he knew something was up. He loved his home with Jenny and Mel but he had a much bigger room at Britin and a huge garden including a pool and their own playground. He figured that the mansion his fathers shared was a child's dream. Very much paradise-like and he wanted to live there all the time. With his momma Mel and his sister Jenny.
SAME TIME - GROCERY SHOP
"I know this isn't what you are used to, Hank but it's all I can really afford at the moment." David explained. His son was so traumatised by the recent events in his life and he hated not being able to buy the food he always had and liked.
"I know, dad. I'm not mad. It's just, I… I really don't like Pepsi and the other sort of cola. Coca Cola tastes better than the others. Would it be okay if I take just two bottles and stick to juice then? Please?" Hank asked, rather begged. Although it was true, he was used to the finer things in life, he didn't really care much for the famous and expensive brands. Except when it comes to Coca Cola. He hoped that 2 bottles instead of 6 or more would be okay for his dad. He was relieved to see his dad nod in agreement with a small smile.
"David, how are you? What a surprise to see you here." Ben greeted the doctor with a smile.
"Ben!" David exclaimed surprised. "What a coincidence. Hank, this is Ben Bruckner. Ben, this is my son Hank." The doctor introduced the two.
"Nice to meet you, Sir." Hank greeted politely.
"Likewise, Hank. I actually just met your dad recently. He mentioned you're just a little younger than my son, Hunter." Ben said but was interrupted by Hank.
"Hunter? What a cool name. I bet he loves it." Hank smiled. Ben noticed how relaxed and happy David reacted. The professor could only imagine how much Hank's excited chatter meant to the doctor.
"He does. Are you having plans tonight?" Ben asked, after a thought came to his mind.
"No plans. We're still trying to decorate our little apartment." David answered.
"Well, then I insist to have the two of you coming over for dinner with me and Hunter tonight. I tend to cook healthy food but if that isn't to your taste I could prepare something else." Ben suggested.
"Oh wow. Yes. Can we come a bit earlier so we can cook together?" Hank begged excitedly. "I love to cook. Well, I just started helping my mom with the cooking but it's fun and I like it."
"I'd love that." Ben smiled. "Hunter won't be there to help since he's spending most of the afternoons with Jenny now so Mel can work and won't have to worry about her so much."
"Thank you, Ben. Why don't we buy what we need now?" David replied. Ben was a great guy and he couldn't understand how Michael had let the professor go so easily.
"Yes! Let's do that." Hank said and dragged the two men to the different sections in the store.
Chapter 2: Friday pt. 1
The arrest and having family and true friends.
THURSDAY - LIBERTY BANK
“Do you have the money?” Michael whispered, for once not wanting to bring attention to himself and Lindsay.
“Yes, do you?” Lindsay whispered back.
“Perfect! Let’s get out of here. Won’t Mel notice so much money is missing?” He wondered.
“It’s my own money, Michael. Mel surely would ask too many questions. I always put a little aside for myself from Gus’ support money. Brian used to be so generous but that changed when that blonde upstart came into his life.” The blonde woman muttered angrily, full of jealousy and hatred towards Brian’s one true love.
“So true. Brian would have never treated us so badly before him. I can’t wait to get rid of the intruder. Brian will be back to OUR Brian in no time and things will be normal again.” Michael said with a dreamy expression.
“That bastard isn’t the only one we need to get rid off, Michael. Remember the baby? Gus is Brian’s only child and has to remain that.” Lindsay explained to him. “It really isn’t fair for my lambskin to share his father with the blonde’s bastard. ” She continued.
“And how do we do that, Linds? We can’t have a child killed, that’s too crass even for us. Maybe we could send it to another country, you know have it kidnapped or something like that.” He mused and Lindsay nodded in agreement.
“Something like that, yes. We’ll talk to Cody and see if he can recommend someone. We can’t hire the same guy twice, it’s not done.” She said.
The two continued to plan on the way back to their hotel. Neither noticed the disgusted looks from bypassers.
SAME DAY - PITTSBURGH COURT HOUSE
Melanie was nervously checking her papers again. She had done it six times already but she didn’t care. Everything had to be perfect for Friday. Cody was ready, as were the police officers and FBI agents. Soon the family would be free of Lindsay and Michael.
It was still hard for her to understand Lindsay’s part in that mess. Michael wasn’t a problem for her because she always saw him as a tantrum throwing, childish and selfish asshole. Yes, she used to call Brian a selfish asshole, too but he was different. Brian had always been independent and he had worked hard for the money and success he had. Brian was self-made. Michael wasn’t like that at all. Selfish yes but not in the same way as Brian. Michael wanted everything and everyone to be there for him, to only pay attention to him. He was as entitled as Lindsay, neither wanted to work for the things they wanted.
Mel knew all of that about Michael when she asked him to father her child. But she had hoped that Michael would grow up the same way Brian did. It didn’t happen over night. It was a rather slow progress that allowed Brian and Mel herself to accept Gus and love him.
Deep down Mel always knew that Brian wasn’t really her problem. She did hate his arrogance, self confidence and she was jealous of his success but she also realized early on that none of these things really defined Brian. He used those characteristics to hide his insecurities and hurt, his true emotions. The biggest problem was Lindsay’s love for the brunette. Mel knew that if Brian were to offer Lindsay marriage she would leave her in a heartbeat without hesitating and it killed her. But instead of laying the blame at Lindsay’s feet, where it belonged, she blamed Brian. She also knew that Lindsay enjoyed the fights between her wife and best friend. It made her feel important and loved.
She would never admitted it to anyone but she didn’t hate Brian. She was actually proud of him for not bullshitting around like most members of the gang. He never saw the need to have meaningful relationships with the men he fucked because they didn’t interest him. But when he met Justin he allowed himself to fall in love and be loved in return. Freely, without strings attached. Brian and Justin had that kind of love that made a person stronger and better. The respect and admiration had been so easy to see as well as the sexual attraction. She wanted that for herself one day. For her life after Lindsay.
She was aware that thinking of her future without Lindsay should hurt but it didn’t. All that Mel cared about at this point were Gus and Jenny. It was her biggest worry, how would her two children cope with the loss of their mother? They would still have Mel, their fathers and the family but there was a time when Lindsay was a good mom to both of them. Before she realized that Brian had a life in which she wasn’t his biggest priority.
It was Justin who had reassured the lawyer that they were doing the right thing. Lindsay could’nt go back to being the mother she once was after wanting to kill someone. It was impossible and Mel knew she wouldn’t be able to ever trust her again around the children. So when Justin had suggested to explain the situation to their children after Lindsay and Michael were arrested she had to agree. They had worked out a way to make sure Gus and Jenny would understand it without traumatising the two of them. She only hoped it would all end tomorrow so Lindsay and Michael could never hurt anyone again. Especially the children.
FRIDAY MORNING - TED & BLAKE’S HOUSE
The lovers were restless through the night. Too much was going to happen today. Gus and Jenny would lose Lindsay and Michael, their parents. Brian was going to lose his two oldest friends, Mel would lose her wife and Ben his husband. Debbie would lose her only son. The rest of the gang would lose friends.
Ted and Cynthia had promised Brian to handle everything at Kinnetik so he could be with his family. The uneasy feeling in their stomachs wouldn’t leave for many hours tho. It was a game of waiting… waiting for the meeting, for the arrest, the call that it was over. And then, Ted was sure of it, waiting for the excuses Michael and Lindsay would come up with. Ted was disgusted by their plan to have Justin killed only because Brian loved the young man.
He still couldn’t stop the chuckle that escaped his lips when he thought back to when Brian and Justin had explained to Craig and Jennifer what Lindsay and Michael were up to. Jennifer had started crying and cursing at the same time but Craig had stood up, walked towards his son and Brian and sat down between them. Ted wasn’t able to hear what the business owner had said but he had seen Brian’s expressions. It had changed from being scared to relieved and grateful. Ted knew that Brian was blaming himself already. And the ad ex was so sure that his parents in law would blame him, too for bringing insane people in their son’s life. That both Craig and Jennifer had reacted the way they did - angry, sad and hurt for Justin AND Brian - was exactly what Brian needed to finally see that he wasn’t to blame for the actions of his former friends.
Blake was worried about Deb’s reaction the most. He knew that Deb loved all of her lost boys but Michael was her son first and foremost. The waitress had surprised everyone by exploding with rage and fear for Justin’s safety and Brian’s peace of mind. She had questioned her own mother qualities and admitted that she had messed up a lot in raising Michael but she would have never imagined for Michael to become so spiteful and hate-driven to plan a murder. She had begged Carl to arrest Michael right away, before anyone could get hurt. When she had finally realized that Michael would be arrested and going to jail, she had cried for the son she had raised but rightfully put the blame on the man he had become. And Deb had promised that she wouldn’t support or help her son. Everyone in the gang was relieved to know they’d still have her love and support.
“You got the money?” Cody asked the two idiots in front of him. He had hoped they’d change their minds.
“Yes, we do. Here it is along with the information and photos of Justin Taylor.” Michael said while handing the bag with the money to Cody.
“We still have a question tho. Can you recommend anyone who’s specialised in kidnapping children and babies?” Lindsay asked.
“Huh?” Cody stuttered. They couldn’t be talking about Gus and Jenny… or Brian and Justin’s baby, right?
“You see, the bastard managed to manipulate Brian into having a child with him. The child needs to go away.” Lindsay explained while Michael nodded in agreement.
“Okay you know what? Fuck off.” Cody said and winked for his collegues. Michael and Lindsay were shocked to see agents from the FBI approaching them with their guns raised.
“Lindsay Peterson and Michael Novotny, you’re under arrest.” Was yelled by one of the agents.
“FUCK!” Was all Lindsay and Michael could say, at the same time.
All the awards go to my awesome beta Loahisi!
Chapter 3: Friday pt. 2
The 2nd part for Friday.
FRIDAY - BRITIN
‘I hate this! I hate them! How could they do this to Brian? How can they claim to love him when all they do is hurt and manipulate him? Can’t they see how much he suffers because of them? I know my husband very well and right now he wants to pretend that he’s fine. So I let him. I know he will fall apart later, probably sometime during the night when everyone - except for me - is asleep. Only then will he allow the tears to fall, only then he will voice everything he keeps inside. Brian is the man I love and I want to protect him. Right now I would trade my soul to the devil if I could take his pain away. No matter what Lindsay and Michael do, a part of Brian will always cherish and love them. But this betrayal will leave scars, hidden in his heart. Those are the worst kind of scars. To help him heal, my own feelings regarding his former best friends will have to take a backseat.’
Justin let out a deep sigh. He had seen how focused, yet nervous Brian had been all day. The two people he had considered his best friends would be arrested today for wanting to kill Brian’s husband. Nobody could get away from a situation like that unscathered. And he knew that Brian would be going through a lot of emotions and need him.
But the artist also knew that Brian wouldn’t be the only one suffering from Lindsay and Michael’s actions. Gus and Jenny would each lose their parent. Gus would still have Mel and Brian but Jenny? She’d only have Mel, her mom. Justin was worried how those happenings today would ultimately affect the children.
He was brought out of his musings by the ringing of the phone. Justin saw Brian get up to take the call. He watched his husband’s shoulders slump and soon he began to shake uncontrollably. Justin looked at Emmett and Drew, asking them with his blue eyes to give them some privacy.
“Ems and I will go home. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need us. No matter the time. We’ll be there for you guys.” The football player promised Justin speaking in a quiet voice. Justin nodded and gave them a small smile of gratitude.
He watched their friends leave the house when Brian’s broken words reached his ears.
“It’s over.” And Justin knew that the arrest had took place but it wasn’t over for Brian and the family. It had only just begun.
‘I look at my beautiful children. I will do everything in my power to make sure that neither Lindsay nor Michael will ever be able to hurt them. I haven’t told them yet what happened. Justin and Brian will come later so the three of us can explain everything.
Why wasn’t I enough for Lindsay? Why wasn’t Ben enough for Michael? Why do they feel the need to chase a man that only ever wanted their friendship? Why did they marry Ben and I if they wanted Brian? Being a placeholder or consolation prize, I… I hate it. And Ben does probably, too. Neither of us is perfect. Ben has had his own fair share of issues, not just his HIV. And so did I. My jealousy and insecurity are my flaws. But did our flaws and weaknesses give Lindsay and Michael the right to treat us, their spouses, so badly and disrespectfully? Didn’t Ben and I try to do everything to make them happy, to fulfill all of their wishes? I know for a fact that Ben didn’t take Michael’s wishes into consideration only once time and that was when they adopted Hunter. I saw the passion in Ben’s eyes. He wanted this young man to be their son. But Michael didn’t. Sure, he said the right words at the right time but his eyes betrayed his words. I think he knew that Ben would have put Hunter first, leaving Michael to adopt the young man. Michael wouldn’t have risked losing Ben so he did what his husband wanted for once.’
“Momma, I’m thirsty.” Jenny’s little voice interrupted her thoughts and Mel wanted to slap herself. Gus and Jenny were rather smart children and they always knew when something was wrong.
“Of course honey. I’m sorry for not bringing you some juice earlier. I was so engrossed with a case that I didn’t think of that.” Mel smiled at her beautiful daughter, hating the lie but not wanting to explain the situation yet.
Mel and Brian had asked Ben to be there too since he’s Jenny’s father, too but the professor wanted to make sure that Hunter would be alright. The young man only had Ben while Jenny had the support of her two uncles and her momma.
“Momma can we go to the park when it stops raining?” Gus asked and Mel just then realized that it had started to rain at some point.
“I can’t promise that, Gus. Your dads will come later.” Mel told her son and saw the excitement in his eyes. No doubt that Gus loved Brian and Justin equally. Well, okay maybe Brian a little bit more but for the first time Mel didn’t feel anger or jealousy at that realisation.
“We can play with them, Jenny.” Gus told his little sister and Jenny became excited, too.
Mel watched her two children chatter excitedly about what they wanted to play later. Shaking her head a little, she got up to get some juice and glasses from the kitchen. When she was back, Gus and Jenny both took their time to finish their glasses, enjoying the taste of strawberries from their juice. Justin had delivered fresh juices to their house every second day. Those fresh juices were more expensive than the normal juices from the grocery shop. With Lindsay and her exaggerated spending out of the picture, Mel might be able to afford those juices and other fresher vegetables and fruits herself.
The ringing of her phone interrupted her musings. Although Mel knew what this call would mean, she still dreaded to pick up and listen.
“Melanie Marcus speaking.” Mel answered professionally. She tried to stop the tears from falling as soon as she heard Carl’s voice. The detective was informing her about the arrest. Lindsay and Michael would be questioned later that day. But Mel knew there was nothing they could say to excuse any of their actions. Her marriage to Lindsay was over.
“Have you noticed how quiet Brian was? I could feel my heart breaking for him and Mel. Am I a bad person for wanting to punch Linds and Michael so badly?” Emmett asked his lover.
“No Ems, you’re not a bad person and you never will be. You might be having those feelings but you wouldn’t act on them even if you had the chance. You’re not violent, passionate yes absolutely. But never would you allow yourself to stoop so low.” Drew explained.
Emmett sighed deeply, hurt and worried for his friends. Drew was right tho. He wouldn’t really punch either of the two idiots. In his fantasy yes, he allowed himself to slap them silly. No, to beat them repeatedly for hurting their children and partners so badly.
“I just hope they will call if they need us. I want them to know that they can depend on us. I never thought that Brian would be the one who needed to be protected from them. Always thought it was the other way around. But now that I see the dynamics between the three of them with clear eyes I know different. Brian is suffering, Drew. Ben and Mel, too. And once Gus and Jenny understand what is happening they will suffer. It breaks my heart, Drew.” Emmett sobbed and his lover’s heart felt the pain. “They had everything… great, supportive partners that loved them. Beautiful children who are smart and kind. A huge family and group of friends. How could Lindsay and Michael throw that away just like that? They didn’t had to fight as hard as Ted and Blake for example. The drugs almost killed them individually and their love, too. And look at them now. They’re sober, have cleaned up their lives and found happiness together. But Lindsay and Michael couldn’t appreciate what they had, no they had to leave the land of reality. But for what? Brian was never theirs. I don’t understand it, not even sure I want to.”
“Oh Ems.” Drew whispered sadly.
‘I hold him. That’s all I can do now. Hold him while he’s trying to come to terms with Michael’s actions. Lindsay’s of course, too but she wasn’t his parent. Michael was his other dad, or at least he was supposed to be. I tried my best to make MY son understand that nothing will change concerning me. I’ll be his father until the day I die. Hunter will always have my support in everything he aspires to be and do. His sobbing breaks my heart. Michael destroyed the little family we had all on his own without thinking about his children. Jenny and Hunter were never important enough for him to leave Brian alone. I thought having a family with me would make Michael see that Brian is really just his friend. And unlike Michael, Brian is a true friend. Honest and supportive. Even though he used to act at times like he doesn’t care. I know that he did, always. Finding love changes a person. Michael spent less time with the gang when we met at first. Emmett and Ted did the same when they met Drew and Blake. And although Michael wasn’t very happy about it, he more or less accepted it. But not with Brian. Any normal person grows with each year and experience. That’s the way life goes. Brian wasn’t in the same space mentally and physically when he was fourteen. And when he met Justin he grew up a lot more than anyone else in the gang because he was too scared to do that before. Fear and loneliness can do that to a person. After I got my diagnosis I went through the same emotions as Brian did, only I managed to get myself out of that funk. Brian never did. Whenever he tried, Lindsay and Michael tried to stop that. He was Brian Fucking Kinney, the Stud of Liberty Avenue. I think they both knew somewhere deep inside that Brian would never want either of them as lovers so they tried to keep him emotionally shunned. It made it so that nobody really had the chance to get close to him. Except for Justin. Before Lindsay and Michael came up with that stupid plan to get rid of Justin, Brian was happy. I could see it in his body language, his eyes, his actions and words. But since it wasn’t with Lindsay or Michael, they had to try to destroy his happiness. But Justin refused to let go of his man. I have never seen a man so proud and so ready to fight for another person. It makes me wish for a love like that for myself someday.’
Ben had been deep in thought while holding his son close to let him mourn the loss of a father that never really was one. The ringing of the bell brought him out of his musings and he let Hunter go to see who was there.
“David, Hank… what are… what brings you here today? Were we meeting today?” Ben wondered confused yet a bit happy to see them.
“No we weren’t. I called Ted earlier to set up a meeting you know. To go through the numbers. He told us about the arrest today. Hank and I were worried and wanting to see you and Hunter. Are you two… okay?” David asked tenderly.
“Yeah… no… I… Shit!” Ben cursed. “No, we’re not okay. They’ve been arrested and we’re trying to cope with it.” The professor admitted.
“Can we come in? Dad and I are good listeners.” Hank asked. Although he wouldn’t compare the loss of his mother to their own loss, he wanted to help his friends. He liked Hunter a lot. And he also liked Ben and hoped that his father and the professor could become real friends. The young boy knew his father needed friends that weren’t too concerned with monetary things.
“Yeah, come on in.” Hunter said with a small smile. He was glad to see Hank and David.
The four of them sat down in the living room to talk about their respective futures.
My beta Lohaisi is an angel! I wouldn't be able to do this without her.
The next chapter will be part 3 for Friday.
Chapter 4: Friday pt. 3
The last part for Friday. The next chapter(s) will continue with the aftermath.
PITTSBURGH POLICE STATION
Carl Hovarth looked at his son-in-law through the glass, trying to understand his motives. He had done the same with Lindsay before he had come to watch Michael. But like before, he couldn’t come up with anything that would remotely explain the actions of those two.
He had seen a lot of criminals in his job, from burglars to murderers - he had seen it all as a homicide detective. Never before had he been forced to watch relatives being arrested and questioned. Carl had asked his colleagues to do the interrogation after the FBI had arrested Michael and Lindsay. He hadn’t been sure it was a good idea to be in close proximity of either family member. The chances for him to lash out at them was too high of a risk for him, especially since he had come to know and respect Brian. Justin was Brian’s true love. The mutual respect and admiration had been clear to notice in everything they said and did to and for each other.
“Hey Carl, you going to watch?” Sam, one of Carl’s best officers, asked the older man.
“Yeah.” Carl sighed in reply. “Wanna start with Novotny or Peterson?”
“Novotny. Peterson’s parents are making a fuss so we start with him.” Sam replied. Carl watched his younger officer walk into the interrogation room with Michael’s appointed lawyer.
INTERROGATION ROOM 1 - MICHAEL’S INTERROGATION
“Mr. Novotny, when did you and Lindsay Peterson came up with the idea to hire a professional killer?” Officer Sam asked.
“What are you talking about?” Michael asked back, playing confused and dumb. “I was having a nice walk with a friend who’s also the mother of my daughter. We’ve met that guy in the park and he was asking for directions and a little money. He’s homeless I guess.” He shrugged. His lawyer rolled his eyes at Novotny’s reply.
“Mr. Novotny, this is useless. Cody is an FBI agent. We heard everything the three of you discussed. Cody was wired. And you didn’t just give him a few dollars so let’s cut the bullshit. You and Lindsay Peterson wanted to hire Cody to kill Justin Taylor. We took on everything you had brought to the planned meeting. The money, the details of Taylor.” Sam replied in an annoyed tone.
“We… well, I… Listen, Brian is my best friend, OUR best friend and we have to protect him from that gold digging whore. That’s what Justin Taylor is. He’s trying everything to tie Brian to him. If Brian’s going to divorce the loser he’ll stand to lose everything he’s worked so hard for.” Michael said after stumbling for a bit. The officer had been right, there was no use in denying the facts.
“Are you seriously trying to tell me that you created this stupid plan to protect Kinney? Maybe someone should protect him from you and Peterson. Do you even know who Justin Taylor really is? A gold digging whore? Not really. The guy’s a millionaire and famous. Kinney’s money and success looks like pocket money compared to Taylor’s worth. How did this plan come together?” Sam wanted to know.
“Lindsay said it was the best way to get rid of him without Brian losing everything.” Michael shrugged, seeming bored with the interrogation and figuring he could try to put the blame on Lindsay.
“Explain how you and her got in touch with Cody.” Sam demanded.
“Um, she called a few people. I wouldn’t how to find a professional assassin. I mean, they don’t really advertise their jobs and offerings in the yellow pages, you know.” Michael said, shrugging once again. “Then she told me that she had found a way to contact this Cody guy.”
“Okay, how did you get the money? $50,000 is a lot of money.” Sam asked.
“Um, it’s just money that I’ve been saving for a while.” Michael stuttered.
“Saved? Do you mean the money you put aside from your husband Ben Bruckner, from your ex David Cameron and your best friend Brian Kinney?” Sam asked angrily.
“What? How do you know?” Michael screeched. “I mean, what are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the money you got from your husband for your store. About $10,000 so far. Add to that the $15,000 from Cameron. He bought a car for you and instead of giving it back to him, you sold it. The car and insurance was in his name. You forged the papers. It’s called fraud. And then about $40,000 you borrowed from Mr. Kinney in the past years. He loaned you the money but you haven’t paid back a dollar yet. You used all those men and their money to get rid of Kinney’s husband.” Sam explained and secretly enjoyed watching Novotny squirm.
“I… uhm, shit. How did you find out?” Michael asked weakly.
“We investigated you. Everything.” Sam said and closed the file. “You’re under arrest. My colleague will bring you to your cell soon.”
“Wait! What about bail? I can pay.” Michael yelled but was only met by Sam’s laugh.
“No way, Novotny. All your assets are freezed. The money will go back to its rightful owners after the investigation is closed. Enjoy your stay in the cell.”
Sam was glad the interview was over. Now he needed a coffee before going to Peterson’s interrogation.
INTERROGATION ROOM 2 - LINDSAY’S INTERROGATION
“Mrs. Peterson, why did you hire Cody Bell?” Sam asked while Carl was watching.
“I did not do such a thing. I was merely trying to stop my dear friend Michael from doing something so horrible.” Lindsay replied, acting outraged. Sam realized what she was trying to do and was curious to see where she was going with this.
“Mrs. Peterson, there is no need to pretend anything. Let’s go with the truth. You’ve been caught on tape since Cody Bell was wired and we, along with the FBI agents have heard every single word the three of you exchanged.” Sam told her, waiting for her response.
“I…” Lindsay began to stutter but couldn’t come up with anything.
“Yeah, I thought so. Tell me why you wanted Bell to kill Justin Taylor.” Sam demanded.
“Because that interluper stole my husband… I mean my best friend and father of my son, Gus.” Lindsay replied angrily.
“Nice trip of tongue, Mrs. Peterson. Aren’t you a lesbian?” Sam asked, trying to hide his amusement of her stupidity.
“Yes, I am. But I still love my friend Brian dearly and want the best for him.” Lindsay answered in a soothing tone, trying to sound caring.
“And you think having his husband killed is the best for him? Or that killing his step-father is the best for your son Gus?” Sam asked sarcastically.
“Justin needs to get out of our lives as fast as possible. I won’t allow that ingrate to replace me in Brian’s life.” Lindsay muttered loudly enough for everyone to understand every word.
“Tell me where you got the money from.” Sam demanded.
“I… it’s mine. I have been saving some of my income for the past years.” She stuttered.
“Really? I didn’t know a gallery manager makes that much money a year. I mean, you have over $200,000 saved? Impressive. And here I thought it was from the monthly support payments for Gus AND Jenny Rebecca from Mr. Kinney along with the money you also get monthly from Sam Auerbach. Why would Mr. Auerbach send you money?” Sam was enjoying the realization and shock dawning on Lindsay’s face.
“That’s none of your business!” Lindsay yelled. The police couldn’t know or so she thought.
“On the contrary. Mr. Auerbach explained that he paid you for service rendered. So I wonder what your actual job is, Mrs. Peterson. Are you a gallery manager or a prostitute?” Sam delivered the smackdown without making a face. The thought alone of paying this woman for sex made him want to puke his guts out. He was straight but women like Lindsay had him run for the hills.
“I… why don’t you say a thing?” Lindsay turned to her lawyer.
“What do you want me to say? You’ve been caught. Your parents only paid me to see what they want to charge you with. I don’t think they’ll be happy.” Ralph Turning replied, annoyed.
“There’s also her voice wanting Cody Bell to give her the contact for someone to kidnap Taylor’s child, which isn’t even born at this point.” Sam added and enjoyed Turning’s reaction.
“Wow, you’ve been quite busy. I’m not going to represent you, Lindsay. I’m a father myself and I love my children. One would think that you, as a mother, would never want to hurt a child but I guess you’re really too selfish. Good luck. Or not. May you rot in hell, Lindsay.” Ralph sneered and left the room. Sam followed quickly, relieved to be out of Lindsay’s presence.
He nodded for his colleagues to get Lindsay and bring her to the cell. She wouldn’t be allowed bail, just like Novotny.
Carl had been watching both interrogations in silence. He was a respected detective and his colleagues hated to see him so down. Listening to Michael and Lindsay broke the man’s heart, for his wife Debbie and the rest of the family. But he knew that Brian would be the one to suffer the most.. And he didn’t want to think about the consequences for Gus and Jenny, his beloved grandchildren.
Thanks to my beta Loahisi and to everyone who's still reading my little story.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
Parent time for Brian, Justin and Mel... more tragic news for the family... and a stronger than ever Debbie
BRITIN - SATURDAY
“NO!” Jenny yelled at her mom. Of course she had realized that something was going on with her mothers and father but the fact that she would never be able to see Lindsay and Michael again was too devastating and heartbreaking for the little girl.
“Oh Jenny, I know it hurts.” Mel tried to sound strong in between the sobs coming out of her mouth. Her heart was breaking for her beautiful little girl.
“I want ALL of my parents home.” The little girl said before breaking down in Mel’s arms.
They had already talked to Gus earlier in the morning. The boy had been tired of Lindsay and Michael for a while and therefore had been glad to hear he would never have to see either of them again. Brian, Justin and Mel knew that Gus’ stand could change anytime. Lindsay was still his mother and the boy loved her, even though he had been hurt deeply by her.
Mel had no other chance than to hold her little daughter. Gus had Brian and Justin but Jenny really only had one parent left. When the door opened quietly, she realized that she and her daughter were not alone tho.
“Hey princess.“ Justin said gently, announcing his arrival to a crying Jenny. The little girl kept crying but squeezed the artist’s hand tightly after he offered it to her.
“Brian and I thought that the three of us should spend the day with the children. We know the rest of the family wants to be here for all of us but Gus and Jenny need our love and attention more now.” Justin explained softly.
“You’re right. I will call Ben and Hunter in the afternoon to see if they want to come around. Ben’s her papa and I’m sure Jenny would love to have both of her big brothers with her today. What do you think, honey?” Mel answered the blonde and asked her daughter.
Jenny wasn’t able to give a verbal reply but her nodding let both adults known that she agreed. “Okay, that’s settled then.” Mel whispered tenderly.
“I know we normally don’t do that, but we have delicious waffles and ice cream on the menu for breakfast. Brian also suggested to go out to the stables with the dogs later. Gus and Jenny could ride their ponies if that’s okay with you?” Justin asked but Mel had not a chance to reply.
“Ice cream for breakfast? Can I, mommy? Please, please?” Jenny begged.
“This is only today, Jenny. We have told Gus the same.” Justin said sternly, yet gently.
Jenny nodded wearing a huge grin. Mel was happy to see her little girl happy again. She gave her okay and Jenny ran out of the room, down the stairs to go to the kitchen where Brian and Gus were waiting for them.
Justin gave Mel a quick hug before the two had gone to join their family.
DEBBIE & CARL’S HOUSE
The waitress had spent the whole night awake, crying and cursing her son and Lindsay. Carl had been holding her all night to show his support.
“I… I have to go to the station and see him.” Debbie spoke determined.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea, honey?” Carl asked, worried that Deb would fall back in the role of Michael’s enabler.
“No, I’m not but I figure that as long as he’s in a cell and I can’t reach him, it will be fine. Well, as fine as it could be under these circumstances. I won’t be able to hurt him physically.” Debbie mumbled and Carl was surprised.
“Deb, honey…” Carl began but Deb interrupted him.
“I need to do that, honey. I need to see him. One last time. I have to be the one to tell him that he doesn’t have a mother anymore. Don’t worry, he won’t be able to change my mind or use his tricks on me. I’m done with him. I admit that I have made many, many mistakes while raising him but I never taught him that it’s okay to harm or kill someone. That’s all on him. And it’s about time that he hears that from me!” Debbie explained and was happy to see the proud look on Carl’s face. She was done putting her life on hold for her son. Carl, Jenny and the gang were her family.
“Call Mel.” Blake said quietly. He and Ted had been asleep still when Hunter called to let them know about Ben. The end of his marriage with Michael, worrying about Hunter and Jenny and the entire mess with Lindsay and Michael had been too much for the professor. His T-Cell count had dropped drastically. Some of his organs had stopped functioning properly and the doctors had to put him into a coma.
Hunter had found his dad in bed. The young man thought that Ben was still asleep but recognized soon that his breathing wasn’t right. And when he couldn’t wake up his dad he called the hospital. He had been a mess since Ted and Blake arrived, followed by Emmett and Drew. The adults had tried to comfort the younger man but to no avail.
His biggest fear was coming true. First, he had lost Michael. Although Hunter had never called him dad, the comic geek had still been somewhat of a father figure to him. He feared that with Michael out of the picture, he and Ben would probably not be able to see Jenny as much as they wanted since they weren’t related. At least he still would have Ben, or so he thought. But with Ben being so sick now, Hunter was fearing to be all alone soon.
“Hey Mel, I’m sorry to bother you but I have bad news.” Ted greeted his long-time friend after she had picked up the phone. “No, nothing to do with those two. It’s Ben. God Mel, he’s in the hospital. They had to put him in a coma. It looks really bad. Hunter is completely devastated.” Ted explained as gently as possible. “Allegheny, yes. We’re all sitting in the waiting room trying to console Hunter. He needs his sister or at least you. I know it’s not a good idea to bring Jenny here after everything. It would only make it worse for her. Okay, talk to them. I’ll see you in a bit.” Ted ended the call. Mel would talk and explain the situation to Brian and Justin.
It really had been too much for all of them, including Hunter. Ted had to admit that everyone had been so worried about Gus and Jenny but nobody really thought about Hunter. Yes, the former street kid was an adult by now but his family was falling apart. And with the young man’s background, all of them should have realized how badly this would affect him, too.
He was happy that Mel would be with them soon. She had been the lawyer that fought for Hunter and made sure he could stay with Ben and Michael. And as Jenny’s mother, she was part of Hunter’s family, too. Ted had no doubt that nothing would change for Jenny and Hunter. They would always be brother and sister, Gus, too. He was sure that Mel would never take Ben and Hunter away from Jenny and he was counting on Mel to tell the young man just that.
BRITIN - OUT AT THE STABLES
“Brian, Justin. Can we talk for a few minutes?” Mel asked. She hated to interrupt their time but they needed to know what was going on. And Mel wanted to go to the hospital for Ben and Hunter.
Brian nodded in reply and asked their gardener, Marco, to keep an eye on the children. The brunette had called their horse trainers Steve and his wife Jessica to help Gus and Jenny on their first rides with the ponies and knew they were good and careful.
“What’s up Mel?” Justin asked once they had walked a bit away from the kids.
“Ted just called. Ben’s in the hospital.” Mel told them. “Hunter had found him in the morning. I don’t know the details yet but Ben’s in a coma and Hunter is close to breaking down. I have to go and see them, Brian. I have to. Hunter has no one except for us and I won’t take Jenny to the hospital.”
“Go Mel, we’ll take care of the kids and tell them that you had to go because of an emergency. Call us as soon as you know more. And give Hunter our love.” Justin said. Mel nodded and made her way back to the house to grab her things.
“Shit Brian, how much more is going to come? We deserve a break. All of us.” Justin sighed and enjoyed the warmth and love in the arms of his husband.
“I don’t know. Truly don’t know.” Brian sighed and held his lover stronger. “But we’ll get through this. All of us. Ben had lost some weight and the added stress from dealing with the break up and the mess, it was just too much I guess. But he’s a fighter. He won’t just leave Hunter and Jenny. He’ll come through.” Brian tried to reassure not only his lover, but also himself. Their family really needed a break.
“Ma, finally. I was waiting for you. Where have you been? Why haven’t you come earlier to see me?” Michael fired question after question at his mother.
“I’m only here to say goodbye, Michael.” Deb stated coldly.
“Goodbye? What the fuck are you talking about? I need you to help me. I only wanted to protect Brian. You know he owes me and you. He had no right to replace me with that blonde, gold digging whore.” Michael ranted.
“Michael, stop it. You are my son and I’ll always love the boy I have raised but I will not love the man you have become. Not anymore. You aren’t the center of my life anymore. After the shit you and Lindsay pulled, I have no son. All the love I have wasted on you will go to Jenny and Hunter and Gus now. Those beautiful children that you and Lindsay didn’t think about for just a second in all your stupidity. I’m done, Michael. Officially done. Don’t call me, don’t write me or anything. I’ll not support you from this day onward. I have lost my son to the gold digging, selfish, entitled asshole that you are. Because the Michael that I have raised, cherished and loved would have never done any of the things you have done. I don’t know you anymore Michael. And Brian doesn’t owe us a Goddamn thing. If anything, we do. Goodbye you ungrateful brat.” Deb stated and left the cell room.
Carl had waited outside, giving Deb the space she had needed to finally cut the cords to Michael. He could hear every single word and if his heart wasn’t breaking and hurting so badly for his wife, he would have been amused by Michael’s frantic ranting.
“Let’s go home, Carl. We have a family that needs us.” Deb told her husband with a smile. She was free of all the chains that Michael had put around her. It was time for her to free the rest of the family from his and Lindsay’s chains, too.
As always, huge thanks to my beta Loahisi.
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
The family gets together... a new romance seems to be on the way?
“Dad, I can’t reach Hunter.” Hank said to his father, worry in his voice.
“I think Mel and Brian wanted to tell the kids about Lindsay and Michael today. Maybe Ben and Hunter are with them?” David wondered.
“I didn’t think of that. I’ll leave him a message, he can call back when he’s ready. I wonder how Jenny and Gus will feel about this mess.” Hank spoke gently.
“Yeah, it makes me angry to see those two throwing away their families for nothing. I hope all of them know that they can call us anytime. ” David said.
“Thank you dad.” Hank said with a small smile. At David’s confused look, the young man elaborated. “I remember the time when you thought Brian and the others were to blame for Michael’s faults. I’m glad you’ve finally opened your eyes to the truth. I think they’re all good people. They wanted the best for Michael. And I’m really glad we’ve met Ben and Hunter. They’re such good people. I’ll probably never understand what made you and Ben fall for Michael but that’s not the point here. You and I have been welcome to their family despite the issues between you.”
David looked at his son and enjoyed the feeling of pride going through his body. Hank had become a very smart, bright and observant young man and he vowed to always make sure to bring good people around his son.
The quiet moment was interrupted by the ringing of Hank’s phone.
“That’s Hunter.” Hank said happily and went to his room to take the call.
A couple of minutes later, Hank stormed back into the room with tears flowing down his face.
“Ben…” Hank sobbed. “Hospital. Coma.”
“OH FUCK NO!” David screamed in shock. He managed to calm himself immediately and took his son into his arms and held him tightly. “Shhh, it’s going to be okay. Ben’s a fighter. He’ll be fine, I’m so sure.” He shushed quietly, trying to sound reassuring.
“Hunter is so sad, dad. I wish I could help him.” Hank sobbed.
“There’s only one hospital around here. Let’s go there and see if we can find them.” David offered and Hank agreed readily.
“Yes, but let’s pack some food. Hospital food is disgusting and who knows if any of them had something to eat yet.” Hank suggested and David was once again amazed by the big heart of his son. They quickly prepared some sandwiches and packed some juice and then jumped into the car to look for their friends.
ALLEGHENY HOSPITAL - 50 MINUTES LATER
The waiting room was packed with most of the family and their quiet chatter filled the room. Everyone was grateful for the food and juice that David and Hank had brought. Mel was with them and observed how great Hank and Hunter got along. She also noticed the look on David’s face. Worry and fear replaced one another whenever a doctor appeared on the floor. She wasn’t sure if David himself had noticed how much he really has come to like Ben. It sounded hilarious to her: David and Ben. One dated Michael for a while and the other married him. But watching David’s face made Mel realized that both men had struggled in their respective relationships with that man. Both were smart and independent, both knew who they were. Maybe, being with someone who wasn’t like Michael at all would make these two men happy.
Despite the circumstances of the ‘get together’, Ted was happy to see most of the family united. He had tried to call Deb and Carl several times but neither was picking up. He was worried how Deb would handle the news about Ben. She was already devastated about losing her son to his own stupidity. Losing Ben, her son-in-law, could send her over the edge emotionally.
DEB & CARL’S HOUSE
Carl had spent the entire night making sure his wife was okay. Cutting Michael out of her life was a much needed but also tough step. She would always love the boy she gave birth to and raised, Carl knew and respected that. There was nothing wrong with that. He was just glad that Deb had seen that Michael was the only one to blame for the situation he found himself in. Not Deb or Brian. Or anyone else. Not having a father figure in his life was not only a lie but also no excuse. A lie because there was Vic. He was Michael’s uncle by blood but the man loved Michael and tried to guide the younger man. As a gay man himself, Vic knew how to help Michael understand his sexuality. Money also was never a problem. Sure, they weren’t rich but as a boy, Michael always had a solid roof over his head. He never had to starve or go out begging for money. Vic and Deb gifted toys and such on more occasions than just birthdays, christmases and other holidays.
It had always amazed him how Michael turned out so different from Brian. Deb had taken over raising the brunette right after he and Michael met. She knew she had made a lot of mistakes with both boys but Brian always went for more. He studied hard, worked hard and protected those he loved. Mainly Michael but Brian always took care of Deb and Vic, too. Even if he just handed them a twenty dollar bill or brought flowers and chocolate for them. Michael had never done any of that without it being their birthday.
Carl wasn’t there to witness these situations but he and Vic had become good friends and talked a lot about their pasts. Vic had found his true love and happiness with Rodney. Deb had found Carl. Even all of their lost boys and girls had found their homes with a significant other. Emmett was over the moon with Drew, Ted and Blake found happiness after the early struggled, Michael found a great man in Ben and Lindsay had Melanie. The only loner was Brian. Well, until he met Justin. Carl really didn’t understand the same sex attraction but he also had no problem with it. He didn’t approve of the lifestyle Brian lived but that was more out of worry. Carl knew what drugs and alcohol could do. Brian had been walking a thin line for so many years. He always hoped for the best, that the successful ad ex would never lose the control over his use of drugs, alcohol and sex. But Brian had become more balanced, relax since meeting the blonde artist and it warmed Carl’s heart. He wouldn’t go so far as saying Brian became a new person. No, he was still Brian but without the coldness and harshness the man needed to protect himself from hurt. With Brian’s childhood and the abuse he had endured for so long by not only his parents but also his friends, colleagues and bosses, Carl understood why Brian wouldn’t let anyone get to close.
But Justin did it. He destroyed those walls and allowed Brian to be human. To the blonde, Brian wasn’t a bank, a threat to control his close family and friends with, a hero to worship. For Justin, none of those things mattered. He wanted Brian, his love and respect without letting him walk on water. No, now, if Brian messed up there wasn't speeches about his inability to take responsibility, how we was an asshole, good for nothing or whatever he’d been told over the years. Now Brian had to admit to his shit, even more so than ever before. Because now he wasn’t alone, he had a partner who fought by his side. No more backstabbing for the man who was used to that. Sure, Brian had always owned his fuck ups but to protect himself, he made himself not care about whatever those fucks ups caused. Well, except for the family. Then the brunette would beat himself up. He always did that, just like he always took the blame for everyone else’s fuck ups.
But that was over. Justin wouldn’t let it happen ever again. Carl was sure of that. And he loved it. No more unfairness towards a hard working man.
Looking at his phone, Carl noticed several missed calls. “Oh Shit, Deb honey. Ted has called 13 times so far.”
“That much? He would never call if it wasn’t important. Let me check my phone. HOLY SHIT! 27 CALLS! Carl, something happened. I know it.” Debbie sobbed immediately, worried.
“Calm down, honey. At least try to. Call Ted. Let’s find out what’s going on before we jump to conclusions.” Carl reasoned.
Almost ten minutes later, the two were on their way to the hospital.
BRITIN - AFTER HORSE RIDING ENDED
“Mel just called. Nothing new yet.” Brian said as he wrapped his arms around Justin.
“Shit!” Justin sighed. “Is she staying at the hospital?” He wondered.
“Yeah, she wants to stay a little longer. I suggested telling Jenny and Gus about Ben and she agreed. I told her we’d do it now and she can update them later how he is now. That okay for you?” Brian asked.
“Sure. Let’s go into your office. They need to be focused. We’ll see what we can do then, depending on their moods.” Justin suggested and Brian nodded. The brunette went to get the children while Justin grabbed some milk and cookies for the two.
Justin held Jenny closely, whispering tender words into her small ear. Her desperate sobbing tore at his heart. Gus and Brian touched her shoulder gently, trying to comfort the little girl. Gus was crying, too. He liked Ben but Jenny could be losing the closest thing to a father she had.
When the little girl wanted to see her Ben, Brian managed to convince her to wait. He agreed to take her to the hospital as soon as Ben would wake up. He had to vow that, a simple promise was not enough for the heartbroken girl.
JAIL - MICHAEL’S CELL
“Fuck that bitch! She’s my mother, I’m her only child. She fucking owes me. I endured her all those years even though she was always too loud and embarrassing.” Michael mumbled.
“Shut the hell up, asshole!” One of the other guys yelled.
“NO!” Michael yelled back. “I’m not shutting up. That bitch of my mother should rot in hell just like all of you fuckers should.” The comic geek really worked himself up.
Michael was still rambling, not paying attention to his cellmate who was just as fed up with him as the rest of the guys in that cell block. He was in mid rant when he fell to the floor and silence reigned. The other criminals went back to whatever they were doing with a content smile on their faces.
We're slowly reaching the end of this story but I'm having more ideas and even started to write a new one. Thanks to everyone who's so patiently waiting for new updates. I appreciate your support and comments so much.
And of course, a big thank you to my beta Loahisi for always being her brilliant self.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
Finally some good news for the family regarding Ben, love is all around in even the worst times and Mel reveals a smart move from her past...
It took two more days of waiting for the family until Ben woke up. Mel and Brian went to the hospital every day. Brian in the mornings and Mel in the afternoons. They all ate breakfast, lunch and dinner with the children. Justin only went once with Brian. He couldn’t do anything and hated feeling useless. He couldn’t take the pain from Jenny nor could he make Ben wake up, so he decided to stay with the children. The only time he accompanied Brian to the hospital was to have a talk with the doctor. He needed to explain the special situation the family was in, to ask for a favor. The doctor needed to know the facts.
Luckily for Justin, the doctor understood the situation and agreed. So when Ben had finally woken up around 11pm, Justin, Brian and Mel were allowed to bring Jenny and Gus for a quick visit. The little girl was so happy to see her Ben and Hunter again. They were allowed to stay for about an hour and the adults could see how much Ben had enjoyed the visitors.
In the morning Mel had called the rest of the family to tell them the good news. David was the last person she called and she heard the relief in the man’s voice through the phone. He promised to bake his famous strawberry cake that he brought the previous day for the family to eat. Ben had seemed quite hungry for a taste when Mel had mentioned it to him.
Brian had noticed something, too. Whenever David’s name was mentioned, Ben’s eyes shone a little brighter. The professor was interested in more than just friendship and Brian had realized during his visits at the hospital that David had obviously wanted the very same.
Love. A family. Brian had always wanted those but never dared to wish for it. It took meeting Justin and later his family to understand the actual concept. Of course he had known love in other ways before: the love he had for his great son or the love he had for his friends. But love and relationships? Never before. And soon their family would be welcoming someone new. Daphne’s pregnancy progressed just fine and Brian found himself looking forward to have another son. Gus was excited as well. Only three more months until their little bundle of energy would arrive if everything went according to plan.
Justin had no idea but Brian had managed to get an apartment for Daphne close to their home. The dark haired lady with the killer claws only wanted to be the aunt, but she wanted to be close. She had offered to carry their baby because she loved Justin like a brother and Brian came close. He and Daphne really got along well and Brian was lucky she had been in New York during the messy situation with Lindsay and Michael.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Justin quiet voice interrupted the brunette’s thoughts.
“Just thinking about our family and what the future’s going to hold. I can’t wait for Gus’ little brother to be with us.” Brian said with a smile.
“Yeah, I’m very excited myself. With everything going on we didn’t even have the time to talk about names.” Justin told his husband.
“Well, since it’s a boy we can forget the name I wanted for a girl. I was thinking of Victor Craig for a boy. You know, to honor Vic and your dad.” Brian suggested almost shyly.
“That sounds great, Bri. I wanted to use Craig, too but thought about Aidan for a second name. I love it and it’s part of you. Just out of curiosity, what was the name you thought about for a girl?” Justin asked. He hoped that he and Brian would have at least one more child in the future. The blonde would love a little girl.
“Aidan? Haven’t thought of that but it sounds good. We’ll go with that one. I thought Jennifer Kasie sounds good. I don’t think Debbie or Deborah are good names. It’s too old fashioned in my opinion. I just hope Deb won’t be mad. But to honor Vic, we could use Victoria, too.” Brian admitted.
“I doubt she’d be mad. And I love both of your ideas for a girl. Maybe we’ll have a little girl one day.” Justin said but to Brian it sounded like a suggestion. One that made him so happy.
“I like the thought of that, sunshine.” Brian whispered before he deeply kissed his artist.
ALLEGHENY HOSPITAL - BEN’S ROOM
“David, thank you for looking out for Hunter. I hate that he didn’t leave this place those past few days.” Ben said sincerely. He worried that his son wouldn’t care about his own health enough. And hospitals are not a real good place for HIV patients.
“No need to thank me, Ben. Hank and I like both of you and we’re glad to be of help. Hunter has been eating and getting enough rest. Now that you’re awake he’ll go home for the nights. I think he needed to be here. He needed to see you’re going to be fine. You have to see it from his point of view. He already lost Michael, who despite all of his flaws had been some kind of father figure in his life, too. He was scared shitless to lose you, too.” David said gently. He understood Ben’s worries but could also see why Hunter refused to go home while Ben was still in the coma.
“I know. I’m just so glad you and Hank are going to stay with him. I’m sorry about your apartment tho. You both are welcome to stay with us for as long as you need. Finding a good place in a decent neighborhood isn’t easy.” Ben said.
“Thank you. Luck is really not a friend of mine, hasn’t been for a while but at least nobody was hurt.” David said with a small smile. It really was bad luck that the construction company left their huge crane unsupervised on the building ground next to David’s apartment complex. When some teenagers played with the crane they managed to throw it right into said complex and the fire department had to rescue many of the occupants before the entire building collapsed.
“Yeah, who knows what could’ve happened.” Ben mused.
“I’ll try to see the bright side of this: we’ll be able to look out for Hunter while you recover.” David laughed and was soon joined by the professor.
“Oh, I totally forgot. My new office is opening next week. Ted and Jennifer worked together. I can’t wait. I’ll finally make my own money again. I’ll of course contribute to the bills.” David said happily.
Ben looked at David closely and saw the happiness in the other man’s eyes. He was glad that things started to look up for the chiropractor. He and Hank deserved better times.
“I like you.” Ben blurred out, blushing.
David gave him a tender smile before he answered. “I like you, too. I like you very much.” He whispered.
Ben moved forwards, catching the man’s lips in a sweet but short kiss. David reciprocated by deepening the kiss.
That was how Hank and Hunter found the two. The two were waiting for David so they could go home. Hunter was happy to see his dad’s feeling being returned. He had hoped for Ben to find a new love soon. Hank was just as happy and hoped his dad and Ben could make it work.
3 DAYS LATER - BRITIN
“Justin, Brian, can we talk?” Mel asked. The two men knew she had been on the phone for the past hour and they had an idea what the call could’ve been about.
“Sure, let’s go to my office.” Brian said, curious.
The whole family was there for a visit with the children. Even Ben allowed himself to spend a couple of hours out of the bed. The doctors had told him to rest a lot but he could not resist seeing Jenny again. The family showed great support in his new relationship with David and he was happier than he had ever been.
Brian closed the door behind him after Mel and Justin followed him into the office.
“That was our lawyer. The trials will start next week. They don’t think it will take long to reach a verdict with all the evidence against them. He also told me that he’ll deliver some papers to Lindsay and Michael tomorrow about the kids.” Mel explained.
Justin looked confused while Brian raised his eyebrow in response.
“I know I haven’t talked to you about it but they are not good parents so they aren’t worthy of their parental rights. They didn’t think of Jenny and Gus in all their plans. Our children deserve better. I’ll have sole custody of Jenny after that. It’s Gus I’m worried about. I’m not his biological mother so custody will automatically go to you, Brian.” Mel explained and the brunette man nodded.
“I’m not sure if you plan to adopt him, Justin?” Mel continued.
“I would love to do that. But what about your rights, Mel?” Justin wondered.
“I won’t have any rights. Well, I could have the same rights as you if Brian allows me to adopt Gus, too. I will talk to Ben later about him adopting Jenny officially. I want everything secure so that Lindsay or Michael will never be able to go after the children.” Mel told them.
“I don’t understand, I thought you had already adopted Gus?” Brian asked. He had given up the rights to his son so Mel could adopt the boy years ago.
“We never filled the papers. None of them, Brian. You are still legally the father. I just never told you or Lindsay so she couldn’t make you bleed to see him. I didn’t do it to protect you, don’t worry. I was just so annoyed with her constantly asking you for money. If she had known you still have your rights she wouldn’t have stopped at that. She would have made sure you paid through your nose to just see him and no matter what anybody thought, I never wanted your money like that. I could and would have accepted loans but not the handouts she was always asking for.” Mel said passionately. “I wanted a family with Lindsay and everything included raising a child together. I wanted us to be responsible for Gus in all aspects.”
“Thanks Mel. Your decision is going to be of help for us now.” Brian mused.
“I know. You and Justin are married, legally so he’s already Gus’ stepfather but by adopting him nobody could take him away from Justin if anything were to happen. And I would love to adopt Gus, too because he’s my son and I love him.” Mel told them.
“Get the papers ready. For both of you.” Brian said, knowing this was the right thing to do.
“Also, I wanted to ask if both of you would like me to name you as guardians for Jenny? In that case, if anything were to happen to me and Ben wouldn’t be able to take care of her she’d go to you along with Gus.” Mel asked the two men.
“I’d be honored.” Justin said, close to tears.
Brian cleared his throat several times. He was close to tears as well. “Absolutely.”
“Alright, I’ll get the papers ready and hope to get an appointment in court soon.” Mel told them, relieved and happy.
So, I'm already working on the next chapters. I think this story will have around 10 chapters, maybe less. It depends.
But be patient with me as I probably won't be able to write in the next few days since my dog Blacky is going to be in surgery on Wednesday and I'm a nervous wreck already. I promise to try my very best.
Happy reading and thanks for all the lovely comments. I appreciate every single reader. Plus, my beta Loahisi is the best. I couldn't do this without her help.
Some updates on Ben's thoughts regarding Hunter and Brian has the support of Craig when he closes some rather disturbing chapters in his life.
Mel had kept her promise to get the papers ready as soon as possible. It only took a couple of days for the three parents to stand in front of a judge. With Justin and Melanie adopting Gus, neither had to fear for Gus’ safety regarding Lindsay. The same went for Jenny regarding Michael. Mel would have to do the same process again once she and Ben had sorted out the papers.
Although Ben had been released from the hospital quickly, he had a huge scare. With Michael out of the picture, he needed to know his son had a good support system in the worst case. So the professor had asked Debbie, Carl, Melanie and Brian if they’d make sure that Hunter would be provided for and taken care of should he die in the near future. Melanie had agreed to adopt Hunter so the young man would always be connected with his sister Jenny and brother Gus. Debbie and Carl had promised to provide the food and even a room just in case. And Carl would also make sure that nobody from Hunter’s past could come and cause trouble for the smart young man.
Brian had offered to take care of any financial needs. He had called Justin during the meeting to talk about his offer and the blonde agreed happily. With all aspects of Hunter’s future being taken care of, Justin asked about the teenager’s near future plans. When neither could say for sure what Hunter had wanted to do with his life, Justin offered to take the younger man out for a day to look at options.
“I’m not really good at anything.” Hunter said meekly. He didn’t think anyone would hire a former street kid, hustler and HIV person. “I also haven’t been the greatest in school.” He added with a shrug, trying to act nonchalantly.
“Not true, Hunter. You’re very good with Jenny and Gus. So maybe working with kids would be an idea. Or with animals. I loved watching you with our dogs and the kids. You’re patient and kind. What else do you like to do?” Justin said, trying his best to convince the younger man of his talents.
“I dunno. Reading probably. Cooking, too. Or music and computer games.” Hunter replied.
“Well, you could combine things, you know? Helping kids who have problems with reading. Or teaching them how to cook. You can do so much, Hunter. Just open yourself to all those possibilities that life offers.” Justin told him with a bright smile.
“Shit, you make everything so easy. I’m a soon to be AIDS victim. Nobody would hire me. I’m nothing, a nobody.” Hunter said, trying to stop the tears from falling. Justin had a good life, he couldn’t understand his situation.
“You are somebody! You are Ben’s son, Gus and Jenny’s brother. You are part of this family. You bring joy and love to those around you. Trust me when I tell you this, Hunter. This family loves you. Back to the computer games and music. I know that my father is always looking for staff in his stores. He already said he’d love to have you there for a day to see if you’d be interested. What do you think?” Justin offered.
“At Taylor Electronics? Your dad would hire me?” Hunter asked, needing assurance.
“Sure. In case you hadn’t noticed, my parents adore you.” Justin laughed at Hunter’s expressions, which was a mix of blushing and surprise.
“Cool. I’d love to work there for a day at least. Can you call your dad and ask him?” Hunter asked excitedly.
“Sure.” Justin replied and picked out his phone to dial his father’s number. After ten minutes, Hunter was excited to go and work at the store the next day. Craig had been happy to learn that Hunter had shown huge interest.
ALLEGHENY PRISON - WOMEN WING
“Officer, could you help me, please? I need to call my husband about our son, Gus. I miss my lambskin so much.” Lindsay said in a seductive voice, playing with her hair. An action she had done a lot since her arrest but that hadn’t been working at all so far.
“Nice try, Peterson. Your son is better off without such a cold hearted, selfish and greedy bitch as you are.” The officer laughed at her.
Lindsay let out a muffled scream in frustration. She hadn’t managed to manipulate anyone and she was running out of time. The from the state appointed lawyer had made it clear to her that there wasn’t any chance for her to get out of her current predicament. She needed to get out of jail as soon as just possible. She had no desire to spend the next years in a cell.
LATER THAT NIGHT - BRITIN
Justin had been watching his sexy husband for a while and knew that something was bothering the brunette. Jen and Craig had come by earlier to stay the night. When Craig walked into the living room, he looked from Brian to Justin and noticed how worried his son was. He motioned for Justin to give him and Brian some space. Craig had a feeling at what caused the ad ex to be this quiet and lost in thoughts. He sat down next to Brian after Justin had left the room.
“Talk to me, son. What’s going on in that head of yours?” Craig asked gently.
“I… it’s just, I… fuck this shit.” Brian muttered angrily. Frustration ran through his whole body. He had felt betrayed, used and manipulated by his two supposed best friends, there was nothing to change that. “Why did they claim to be my friends when they actually hate me that much?” Brian asked, with just a hint of anger in his tone. He didn’t want to be upset over the actions of Lindsay and Michael but he also couldn’t control his feelings so easily.
And in that moment, Craig knew what was wrong. “It’s not that they hate you. They don’t love you but hate is not the right word.” The elder man said gently and was met by a confused look on Brian’s face.
“It’s obsession. Desire. Want and need. Not healthy but that’s what it is. They want to own and control you. They want your sole attention and focus on them. For Lindsay, having Gus with you wasn’t because she wanted a child. It was wanting something that ties you to her. And Michael agreed to father Jenny because it would give you and him something in common.” Craig explained and saw understanding in Brian’s eyes.
“I feel so stupid. I always thought I could read people but they managed to fool me for years. How could I let this happen?” Brian wondered.
“You didn’t let it happen. You needed them at a very difficult time in your life. You have met Deb and Vic through Michael. And Lindsay was a means to an end for you. In fact, they abused you as much as your parents did. Not with fists but by conditioning and manipulating you to fit into their ideals. You didn’t see the fists so you thought they truly loved you and cared for you. A lot of people who have experienced violence and abuse, especially in their childhood, tend to fall for the mental type of abuse. You didn’t know better, Brian. Now you do know and have the chance to move on.” Craig told the younger man.
“But how can I move on when all I feel is this anger and rage?” Brian asked, desperately.
“Look at this mess like that: Lindsay and Michael are your demons and you need to exorcise them. Call Carl and ask him if you can see the two. Do and say what you need to so you can find closure. They won’t be able to manipulate you now. But they’ll try and this is where you tell them to fuck off.” Craig suggested.
“I don’t know if I can do that. What if I break down or something?” Brian asked, his voice laced with worry and fear.
“It could happen but I doubt that’s how you’ll react.” Craig told him. The business man was pretty sure that all the anger and frustrations would come to blow and Brian would scream at his former best friends. That would help getting rid of the tension and the brunette wouldn’t have to worry about leaving it out on the wrong people.
2 DAYS LATER - PRISON - MEN’S SECTION
Brian sat in the visiting room on a chair. In just a few moments he would see Michael again. The man he had considered one of his closest friends. Craig was waiting at the entry for Brian, to lend him support. Brian knew he wasn’t alone but he was still scared to face his long time friend again. Later he would pay a visit to Lindsay, too.
The loud clang of a huge door opening announced the arrival of Michael, who was accompanied by a stern looking warden. The man’s eyes lit up and a smile graced his previously grim face at seeing Brian waiting.
“Brian, oh my God Brian. Finally! What took you so long to come and see me?” Michael asked excitedly.
“I don’t know, maybe taking care of my family for example? You know, the one you wanted to destroy?” Brian replied sarcastically.
“Briiiiaaaan.” Michael whined as he sat down on the opposite chair. “You know I only want the best for you. That blonde gold digger changed you so much, you couldn’t be yourself with him. I tried to protect you from him and that bastard child he wanted to use to fuck you over even more with.” He explained, sure that Brian would understand.
But the tall man didn’t feel very understanding at all. Brian saw red when Michael issued yet another insult about his husband.
“The best for me? The best for me? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?” Brian yelled and behind him, in the entry Craig was smiling. Brian and Michael couldn’t see him but the man heard everything.
“You never cared about ME at all, you fucking asshole. It’s all about you, you, you. Nobody else. Not your mother, your husband, your son or your daughter. Only you. You are the biggest and most selfish dickhead on earth and you deserve rotting in a small cell for the rest of your miserable and pathetic life without ever seeing the sun again. You wanted the only man I ever loved and will love dead. Because you can’t think of anything else but your wants and needs, no matter how fucked up and unreal those are. You are dead to me, Michael Novotny. Dead. I fucking hate you and I promise you that I’ll hate you for the rest of my life. You know, the life I’ll share happily with my husband and our children. Jenny and Hunter will have Ben, their only dad. And with Hank they’ll have another brother since Ben and David Cameron are together and sharing a house. You’ve lost your mother, family and friends because you deserve none of them. We’re all better and deserve better people in our lives and thank God, with Justin and his family those better people have arrived. We all will be happy while you and Lindsay rot in hell. Goodbye, Michael. Enjoy the rest of your pathetic life and I hope to God you’ll be faced with the worst kind of criminals so you’ll never smile again.” Brian said while getting up and leaving a shell shocked Michael behind.
Outside of the waiting room, Craig was waiting for him with open arms. He held the son of his heart close, whispering calming reassurances while the ad ex mourned the loss of a person he had counted on for many years. After about forty minutes, Brian was ready to face his other demon, Lindsay.
PRISON - FEMALE SECTION
Lindsay already sat at the table. She was hoping her parents would have finally remembered their other daughter and had come to save her. When the door opened her face showed surprise at first, then she broke out in happy tears and a smile. She tried to get up and hug the father of her son but the warden pushed her back down right away.
“Oh Brian, I’m so happy to see you. I missed you so much.” She sobbed. “I tried to call you but they wouldn’t let me. I need you to help me with this mistake. It’s all a misunderstanding.”
“How could anyone not understand you correctly when you said you wanted to get rid of not only my husband but also my soon to be born son?” Brian asked coldly. Once again, Craig was waiting outside of the room, listening in and ready to give Brian moral support.
“Brian.” Lindsay said in that famous condescending tone of hers. “I love you, you know that. But this… man, he isn’t good for you. He changed you so much. I only ever wanted you to be who you are, a free spirit. And it hurts me that you want to replace Gus and I with some bad copies of us.”
“Bad copies? What the fuck are you talking about?” Brian asked, outraged and confused.
“Well, look at your… husband. Blonde, an artist, pure WASP. You married him because he is me. You thought you couldn’t have me because of Mel but you should have known better. I’d have left Mel in a heartbeat if you had just said something. You and I could be raising Gus together and have more children.” Lindsay explained her crazy mind.
Brian broke out laughing. “No, Lindsay. Justin is NOTHING like you. He’s neither selfish nor delusional. He would never hurt or use our children to get whatever he wants. He’s a self made millionaire, who worked hard for every single penny he owns. He gives me so much and only wants my love and honesty in return. Not my money. He would never want me to give up myself to please him. He would never manipulate me the way you did. You’re entitled, selfish, greedy, lazy and just plain stupid. And for you to even entertain the thought of me and you getting married shows me how delusional and crazy you really are. You’re just an ugly cow who’s bitter because she wasn't getting what she wanted. Well, tough shit bitch. You work for what you want, don’t wait until someone else hands it to you.” Brian laid down the facts to her.
“You… I... “ Lindsay stuttered, shocked at Brian’s words.
“Yes, you what? Enjoyed manipulating me? Enjoyed hurting me? Enjoyed using my hard earned money for your own selfish needs while claiming it was for the kids?” Brian offered with an evil glint in his eyes.
“Brian please, I love you so much.” Lindsay sobbed. If nothing else worked, tears would do.
“And right now, I hate you. But soon you’ll be nothing more than a bad memory. Justin and Mel have adopted Gus, so he has two fathers and one true mother now. You’ll never be able to use Gus for your schemes. Have a good life in here. I think you’ll love being here. I mean, who doesn’t like a dose of his own shit? Rot in hell, Lindsay. You’re dead to me.” Brian said and went out of the room straight into Craig’s once again waiting arms. He was done. Done with his old life and those demons. Brian was ready to look forward now.
I apologize for the late update. Life's so complicated at the moment. My dog Blacky had his surgery (end of May) and then he ran over my mother and accidently broke her shin head. Both are disabled at the moment and need me to take care of them twenty four hours a day. Working on the last chapters for this story is very hard at the moment.
Thank you to my beta Loahisi <333 And to everyone who's waited so patiently for an update.