Not So Zen Ben
Brian was sitting all alone in the large booth at the back of the diner nursing a cup of coffee and reviewing Kinnetik contracts. It looked like a terrible waste of valuable table space until Debbie arrived with mob in tow and with what seemed like hundreds of shopping bags.
“Holy maxed out credit card, Batman!” he exclaimed as the kids piled into the booth. “Did you leave me any money?” The kids shook their heads, no.
“Oh man up, Brian,” Molly snarked as she stepped from behind the crowd. Sometime after work Molly had met up with everyone to take charge of her son and enjoy the shopping fun.
“You can be fired,” Brian griped. Debbie glared as she shook a finger at him.
“Don’t worry, Deb, he can’t fire me; he’s sending me to Paris next week,” Molly said with a smug smile as she squeezed in the booth with Taylor.
“Oooo, Paris!” Debbie crowed which started lots of chatter amongst the grandmothers with suggestions for what sights to see.
Brian pinched his nose and ordered more coffee.
“Paris! Who’s going to Paris?!” Emmett squealed as he entered the diner carrying a large crate of tasty desserts. Patrick jumped up to give him a hand.
“Oh thank you, Honey, that’s so sweet of you,” Emm said with an appreciative smile. After he finished his delivery Emmett squished himself next to Brian.
“Must you?” Brian growled as Emmett shoved over Brian’s ass to make himself more comfortable. The ladies smirked at how easily Emmett could get away with manipulating the great Brian Kinney.
“Oh poo!” Emmett dismissed Brian with a wave of his hand. “So what’s this about Paris and what have y’all been up to on this fine day?” Everyone raised a shopping bag or two making Emmett clap wildly and laugh while Brian groaned.
“They’re sending me to the poor house,” Brian mumbled as he hid his face behind his hand.
“Oh stop complaining, you know you have more money than dirt and who better to spend it on than our beautiful children,” Emmett crowed.
“Our? Our children? I didn’t see you give birth to any of them,” Brian groused. Said children giggled.
“Hush! Now can you tell us why our Miss Molly will be going to Paris or is it a state secret?” Emmett asked.
“If I tell you then I’d have to kill you,” Brian snarked as he took another sip of coffee.
“I brought popovers,” Emmett said with a sideways glance.
“Do you think I can be bribed with your popovers?” Brian asked with indignation.
“Of course you can,” Emmett stated with confidence.
“You can be…” Brian began.
“No I can’t, because I don’t work for you, so there,” Emmett said then he stuck out his tongue. Brian rolled his eyes.
“Seriously, Brian, can you tell us anything? I’d like to know why you’re sending my daughter to France,” Jennifer asked with a mother’s concern.
“It’s a business trip,” Brian assured Jennifer. “Gus and Ray will be going and may require an interpreter while they’re negotiating.” Brian addressed Molly. “And I’m serious about sending you with Owen and Taylor. I don’t think the boys will need you every minute so you may have a little free time.” Molly smiled while contemplating the offer.
“Dada?” Bree began with bright eyes and a big smile. Brian closed his eyes and pinched his nose in anticipation of what his ‘too smart for her own good’ daughter was about to ask.
“What?” Emmett asked. Brian mumbled something. “What was that? I didn’t hear you.”
“Bree wants to go to Paris,” Brian stated with a sneer.
“Well of course she does, what young lady wouldn’t,” Emmett gushed. “However, school will be starting up in a couple of weeks and what’ll happen if the secret negotiations take longer than anticipated? It’s a business trip; I doubt if there will be much time for sightseeing,” Emmett stated wisely. Brian felt a reassuring pat to his thigh; he immediately relaxed and was forever grateful that Emmett was a very perceptive man.
“Emm’s right. And as much as I’d love to go to Paris with my family, school is beginning soon; this isn’t the right time. I’m owed some vacation time, maybe Owen and I can take a second honeymoon,” Molly said with a sunny smile. “Miss Bree, when one goes to Paris, one should take the time to explore and truly absorb the Parisian atmosphere. Not be forced into some time constraints due to a silly thing like a business meeting.”
“Kinnetik business isn’t silly,” Brian growled which apparently everyone ignored.
“But Auntie Emm, I really really want to go to Paris!” Bree said with a true drama princess sigh.
“Of course you do, Princess. And I bet your daddies will have a spectacular trip planned for you to be taken at the appropriate time,” Emmett gushed. Brian nodded. “I almost envy you.”
“Maybe my Dada will take you and Uncle Drew with us,” Bree said with a grin.
“Ooooo!” Emmett squeed.
Everyone laughed when Brian groaned again and hung his head. After a while his head popped up. “Well, I hate to break up this happy family moment while you all find more ways of sending me to the poor house, but it’s time to go home. I need a little alone time with my Sunshine to console me and my empty wallet,” Brian announced with a waggle of his eyebrows as he began to push Emmett out of the booth. Brian was rewarded with moans, several “eiws,” and one “Oh Dada!” Emmett tried unsuccessfully to bat away Brian’s hands before finally acquiescing.
“Beast,” Emmett grumbled at Brian as the family prepared to go their separate ways.
Hugs and kisses were passed around before the Kinney clan left the diner piling into John’s Navigator then driving out of the Pitts heading for the lane. As they reached the outskirts of the city, Debbie posed a question.
“Were you successful?” she gently asked.
“I think so. I left him with JR; they were laughing and hugging,” came Brian’s answer. He knew exactly what Debbie was asking.
“That’s a good sign.”
“Yes, it is. But Deb, they have to work this out for themselves,” Brian cautioned. “We’ve interfered enough.”
“I know, sweetheart, but it’s so hard when I know that they’re both hurting.”
Brian could only nod.
The ride back to the lane was uneventful and quiet other than the happy chatter of three young teens.
It was almost dusk when Michael got to the exit that would lead him to the lane. When he got to the gate he carefully entered his code then watched it slowly swing open. Nervous about his reception, Michael edged his car forward and onto the lane. He had intended to drive to the lane as soon as he knew JR was back in the city but Michael being Michael, hesitated. Now he had no idea if Ben still wanted him or would take him back. Cognizant of all possible traffic on the lane, including wheelchairs, Michael slowly drove to the cabin then pulled into the driveway.
“Hello?” Michael called out when he opened the door to the cabin and entered. The main room was dim except for the light from a small lamp in the living room.
“Ben?” he called out again slightly louder. When he received no answer, Michael walked through each room in search of his spouse. Michael was just about to start worrying when he walked through the house and out the back door to the patio. There he found his Adonis of a husband stretched out on a chaise, dozing. Ben was looking delicious wearing only cutoff jeans but was at risk of quickly becoming mosquito food.
“Ben,” Michael said gently so not to startle the peaceful looking man.
“Hi,” Ben replied with a beautiful smile as he turned toward Michael’s voice.
“Hi,” Michael repeated as he returned the smile with his own goofy lovesick grin.
They stared at each other a few minutes until Michael swatted away a mosquito.
“I think we should go inside,” Ben suggested.
“I think you’re right,” Michael agreed.
Ben scrambled up off the chaise then reached out for Michael’s hand. Without hesitation Michael took Ben’s hand and the two sprinted back into the safety of their bug-free home.
“Um, I’m a little sweaty, I can really use a shower,” Ben said awkwardly as they stood in the kitchen.
“I’m a little sweaty too,” Michael said shyly, looking up at Ben’s face with a coy smile.
“Join me?” Ben whispered, hoping his invitation wouldn’t be rejected. His answer was Michael’s ear to ear smile.
The lovers proceeded quickly to their room, shedding clothes as they walked. They entered their en suite bathroom to their shower stall. Michael shut the stall door as Ben turned on the water. Within a few minutes the bathroom became very hot and steamy!
“Is that Michael’s car?” Glen asked Alex as they drove past the log cabin. The car was just visible through the foliage. The boys had gone out to dinner and were looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace. The late August days were still hot but the evenings were becoming just cool enough to enjoy a small fire.
“I hope so because I don’t think Ben can take much more of this,” Alex blurted out.
“The family either,” Glen agreed.
The sun was just going down as they approached the circular driveway of their meadow cottage and were soon ensconced in their home.
“I’ll pour the wine if you light the fire,” Glen suggested.
“Wine, huh, not beer? Do you have seduction on your mind?” Alex asked with a smile.
“Would you say no?” Glen asked as he wheeled over, a small tray on his lap with two goblets containing a crisp summer wine.
“I’d never say no to you,” Alex replied, his love shining in his eyes and a smile on his lips. Glen returned the smile.
While Glen transferred himself out of his chair and onto the sofa Alex made sure the fire caught then placed the protective screen back in front of the fireplace. They snuggled close, watching the fire and sipping wine.
“I love you,” Glen murmured.
“Love you too,” Alex said as he pulled Glen in closer. They savored their wine and their peaceful moment.
“When do we go back?” Glen asked.
“Whenever you’d like.”
“I’d like to stay here forever.”
“Then we stay,” Alex said.
“You’d do that for me, wouldn’t you?” Glen asked as he turned to see Alex’s face.
“I’d do anything for you.”
“I know you would, and I love you for it. But I think the real world beckons us.”
“Unfortunately you’re right. My assistant keeps sending me reminders to check my calendar.”
“And this is different from any other year, how?” Glen snarked.
“What about you? I’m sure you’re booked from September to the holidays.”
“Yada, yada,” Glen grumbled. “Shit, it’s too early to use the “h” word.”
Alex laughed. “God, after all these years together you still manage to make me laugh!”
“And you are my rock. You keep me sane when the pain gets to me,” Glen admitted with a sigh. “I’d say we’re perfect for each other,” he said trying to keep bitterness out of his voice. It wasn’t often Glen allowed the “what ifs” to get to him but every once in a while they’d sneak up on him. Alex knew just how to combat them.
“We are perfect together,” Alex stated perhaps stronger than necessary. “You’re stuck with me for life, you know,” he said after a few seconds.
Alex moved their glasses out of harm’s way then he gently lowered them on the sofa, arranging Glen in just the right position.
“What are you doing?” Glen asked with mock surprise.
“What does it look like I’m doing?”
“It looks like you’re the one trying to seduce me.
“Got it in one.”
“I love you, Alex Wilder, M.D,” Glen said as he surrendered to his husband.
“And I love you, Glen Wilder, Ph.D. More than I can ever express,” Alex said just before he captured his husband’s lips and made love to him.
Debbie and Carl had been out strolling up and down the lane. The couple enjoyed the exercise. They talked about their day and about how pleased they both were regarding the progress Peter was making. The young man appeared to have physically grown, a fact that Debbie attributed to all the good food she was feeding him. And he had gained more confidence in himself. Peter appeared to be more at peace.
“Michael’s back,” Carl remarked as he and Debbie stood on the lane staring at the cabin.
“Do you think we should call on them?” Debbie asked. She looked into Carl’s eyes then they both shook their heads with a resounding “Naaaa!”
Laughing, they returned to their own quaint thatched cottage.
It was late in the evening when Patrick’s dads returned home from Harrisburg. They each had business to attend to but were confident that Patrick was smart enough to find himself dinner.
“Did they feed you?” Bobby joked as he walked through the door on his way toward his bedroom to release himself from his suit. Patrick followed.
“Nope, I decided to feed myself,” Patrick proudly replied.
“I’m not sure how to take that,” John stated as he sat on the edge of the bed to remove his work boots.
“I know what you mean, I’m suddenly feeling very old,” Bobby said with a touch of nostalgia. Their son was growing up, becoming the independent young man his fathers taught him to be.
“Drama queens,” Patrick murmured. He gazed upwards as he grumbled, “Please save me from drama queens.” Patrick laughed at the expressions on his fathers’ faces.
“I’ll show you a drama queen!” Bobby shouted as he tackled his son to the bed then began to tickle him into submission.
John laughed as he watched his two redheads wrestle, each vying for supremacy. When they both came up for air, John asked Patrick about his day in the big city.
“Did you get everything on your list?”
“Yup and more. You know Uncle Bri,” Patrick said as he lay back on the bed to catch his breath.
“What am I going to do about that brother of mine?” John asked shaking his head.
“Nothing,” Bobby replied to the rhetorical question. “There’s nothing anyone can do when Brian is in his generous to a fault mode. Just thank him and be done with it.” Bobby got up to put on shorts and a t-shirt.
“You’re right,” John admitted then let it go. “Did I see Michael’s car at the cabin?”
“Yes, you did,” Patrick answered. “I think Uncle Bri worked more magic.”
“I don’t know how he does it,” said Bobby.
“It’s a gift,” John stated. “We should just be grateful he uses his powers for good.”
John’s redheads agreed as the Anderson-Morrison family prepared to enjoy a nice quiet evening at home.
Ben and Michael lay quietly resting in between rounds. Michael felt confident that Ben still loved him but unsure if Ben was ready to leave the lane. Ben was sure in his feelings, he loved Michael with all his heart but this time there would be no compromise. Ben would stay on the lane for as long as it took to complete his book. Even under these stressful conditions, Ben had managed to write a preamble and send it off to his publisher. It was well received, and in turn, Ben received strong encouragement to go on with his book.
“Wait, I know what you’re going to say.”
“Yes, you want to stay here to write.”
“Yes, I do. What I want to say, what I want to share, even if it's only read by one person, and if that person is touched by our story then it’s worth it.”
“Yes, Michael, our story. It’s not just about Brian and Justin but it’s about us, and Emmett, and the girls. Even about your Dr. Dave. It’s about all of us, about how we work hard and sometimes struggle to live our lives to the fullest. Even when we’re bashed, bullied, or positive, we live.
“Michael, please try to understand. I have to write this.”
“What’s it called?”
“The Sunshine Chronicles or Files. I haven’t made up my mind yet.”
“And it’s about us.”
“Yes, our whole crazy widdle family, as Brian puts it. But yes, all of us.”
“How does it start?” Michael asked as he snuggled closer to Ben. The bigger man wrapped a strong arm around him. Michael breathed in Ben’s masculine scent and the scent of their loving, their sex.
“It starts on the night when he came along; when Brian met Justin under that lamp.”
“How’s it goin’? You had a busy night?”…. “Where you headed?” “No place special.” “I can change that.”
Justin collapsed down onto Brian’s chest. He had been riding Brian’s cock for what seemed like hours. Between the two of them they must have come about a half a dozen times.
“Another good one,” Justin panted.
“Do you think they’re making love?” Justin asked after a while. “Ben and Michael, I mean.”
“If they’re smart they finished fucking in the kitchen and should be halfway through the living room by now. It’s all about the sex.”
“You asked, Sunshine. I only speak the truth.”
“Not everyone is as adventurous as you are.”
“True,” Brian stated unrepentantly. “Except for you, my dear Sunshine,” Brian retorted as he made lazy circles on Justin’s back with his fingers.
“Maybe,” Justin said as his cheeks grew hot and flushed.
“No maybe about it. I’m man enough to know when I have met my match. And you are my match in every way possible,” Brian said as he rolled them over to be on top of Justin.
Brian pressed himself down; they were both gooey and sticky but neither of them cared.
“You are my match,” Brian whispered as he gazed into the eyes of the only man to ever hold Brian’s heart.
Justin’s eyes reflected back the love he saw in Brian’s changeable eyes. Right now they were a dark forest green with sparkling flecks of gold.
They held each other’s gaze for several moments, growing hard again as they did. Two sets of eyes darkened with lust and love.
Their next round was about to begin.
“I can’t believe we’re in Paris!” Gus exclaimed with excitement. They were standing on the banks of the Seine. Ray was wide eyed and speechless, an interesting state for a lawyer.
Shane decided to bring the boys to Paris via the Channel tunnel to stay a few days before their actual meeting with Pierre and his agency. Shane figured it would give the boys an opportunity to get that touristy American look off their faces so when it came time they could concentrate on Kinnetik business. He figured right. The boys’ enthusiasm threatened to bowl Shane over.
“Come on, lads, let’s find a café. I could use a cuppa,” Shane said with a smirk. The sun was setting and Shane was getting hungry.
It was a perfect Parisian evening. Their meal was delightful and the conversation pleasant. The boys laughed as Shane told them stories of his wayward youth and his travels to Paris. They were deciding whether to leave or order more wine when Shane received a message from his partner.
“Well, boys, I’ll be leavin’ ya to your own devices. I got me a hot date,” Shane said with a grin as he waved his phone in the air making the boys laugh.
“And who might that be with, Shane, me lad,” Gus teased in an awful brogue.
“A true gentleman never kisses and tells,” Shane said with a straight face. “Seriously, boys, can you find your way back to the hotel? My partner decided to surprise me with a visit. I’d hate to disappoint the man.”
“We’ll be fine,” Ray assured their friend and colleague.
“Now don’t be doin’ anythin’ I wouldn’t do,” Gus said, his terrible brogue back. Shane just shook his head.
“Go,” Ray said as he made a shooing motion with his hands. “Enjoy yourself. And say hello to Finn for us.”
“Will we be seein’ ya both at breakfast?” Gus asked with a waggle of his eyebrows and a lascivious grin.
“Please go now, before he embarrasses us even further,” Ray suggested. They all laughed as Shane flagged down a taxi.
“Kinney, you know you are truly evil, right?” Ray stated as he ordered them both more wine. They were in no rush. Their business trip didn’t officially begin for another week.
“I’m sweet!” Gus replied.
As the boys sat back to enjoy themselves and the night, a man sitting at the far side of the café, sneered as he cursed the name, “Kinney.”
Return to Not So Zen Ben