Gus was sitting on one side of the booth at the diner – sipping a cherry coke. Brian and Justin were on the other side of the booth looking suspicious.
“OK Gus,” Brian was saying. “What have you done? This whole business was some kind of a con job. You told Mel and Linz you needed new shoes – and you insisted that Justin and me had to both go with you to get them. So we arranged our schedule – not that it was all that hard – so that we could do that – and you weren’t the least bit interested in shoes once we got to the shoe store. I bet you’ve done something and you want to confess – so just go ahead. Me and Justin have made some mistakes too so we’ll understand – up to a point that is….”
“Are you and Justin mad at each other, Daddy Brian?” Gus seemed to change the subject. “You guys don’t act the same as usual with each other – and you didn’t seem the same as usual today either. You aren’t….”
“Did somebody tell you that me and Brian aren’t getting along?” Justin entered the discussion.
“Well Mommy Mel said she thought she and Mommy Linz should do something because you guys are always arguing,” Gus admitted. “And Mommy Linz said that there was nothing that anybody could do to fix things for you – that you were tough guys to handle - and you’d have to figure out stuff for yourself….”
“And so then they sent you to fix things for us, Kiddo?” Brian presumed. “Women are crazy.”
“No they didn’t send me, Daddy Brian,” Gus told them. “They didn’t even know I heard them. They didn’t know I was even in the house. They thought I was in the back yard with the cat.”
“So you decided to give us a talking to, eh?” Justin asked him with a gentle smile on his face.
“Takes after you, Taylor,” Brian chimed in. “Always into somebody else’s business….”
“Do you remember, Daddy Justin, a couple of months ago when I told you I was getting mad at my best friend, Jay Bachner?” Gus related. “Cause he was getting mean and was always mad and everything. And you told me that maybe there was something wrong in his life – and maybe he needed a friend more than ever.”
“Yeah,” Justin replied. “I remember – and I see you guys are pretty good friends again too – so maybe I was right.”
“Yep, you were,” Gus allowed. “Jay only has one mommy and one daddy – and they were fighting about a lot of stuff – and he was afraid he’d lose one of them. We know some kids who only have one parent and Jay was scared. But everything turned out OK for him - and I was glad I stuck with him. You were right, Daddy Justin. He needed me as a friend. Well, I’m luckier than most kids. I have four parents and I need them all – so if you guys aren’t getting along, I figured I had to do something. Nobody needed to send me. I had to try. If nobody else was gonna do anything it was up to me.”
“And you’re like how old now, Daddy Gus?” Brian asked with amusement.
“You know exactly how old I am, Daddy Brian,” Gus told him. “And I’m old enough to know that if you two aren’t getting along something’s wrong – and Daddy Justin always tells me if you see that something’s wrong you should try to fix it.”
“Sounds like Daddy Justin all right,” Brian pointed out. “Bet you never heard anything like that from me.”
“I don’t think I ever did, Daddy Brian,” Gus agreed,
“But you did tell me a couple of times that if you told me one thing and Daddy
Justin told me something else, I should always do what Daddy Justin said –
because he was the greatest guy in the world and he was just about always
“You told him that, Bri?” Justin turned toward Brian.
“Well maybe I did, Baby,” Brian looked away. “I wouldn’t want to call our kid a liar or anything.”
“You know what, Gus?” Justin turned back to the kid across from him. “Adults don’t always get along as well as they should – and then we say we’re acting like children – but you don’t have to worry about your two dads. They love each other and they love you and….”
“You know what, JT,” Brian wrapped his arm tenderly around Justin’s neck, “I can see the day coming when you’ll be only the world’s second most successful meddler – but I’ll still love you - even then.”
“Hey, Gus,” Justin grinned at him. “You’ve done a great piece of work today. With all my experience I couldn’t have done better myself. Anything you need?”
“Well,” Gus told him, “I could use a pair of shoes.”
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