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Authors: Mia Watts

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BOOK: Actually
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Chapter Nine

Giant turkey decorations and lights strung every street lamp in the downtown area. It was the day before Thanksgiving and Aaron drove back from work inundated with nostalgia. He’d opted not to try to figure out how to cook a turkey. Instead, he’d bought a chicken. Along with researching the new course load he wanted to take, he’d be researching roasted chicken recipes.

The first Thanksgiving as a two-some deserved a real dinner, with real effort. The lights were on in the house as he parked and went inside.
“Honey, I’m home!” he called jokingly to his brother.
“I’m in here,” Mike called back.
Aaron followed his voice to the living room. Mike stood with his feet spread, arms folded and a look of pure hostility on his face directed at what could only have been Ian.
“He says he wants to talk to you, but I told him that if he’d really wanted to talk to you he’d have done it before now,” Mike bit out.
“I didn’t see your car in the driveway,” Aaron said by way of redirection.
“I walked,” Ian told him. “I had a lot of thinking to do, and my feet led me here.”
“Your feet can take you back out again,” Mike snapped. “You can’t just wander over whenever you feel like you. You can’t mess with my brother’s head when the mood strikes you.”
Aaron grinned. He couldn’t help it. The protectiveness in Mike didn’t come out often. In fact, Aaron hadn’t seen it in years. “I got it from here, Mikey. Thanks.”
“For real?” Mike asked, looking over at him with obvious concern in his eyes. “You want me to let this guy screw with you more than he already has?”
“I can handle it.”
“Fine. I’m right upstairs, though.” Mike swiveled on his heel.
“Mike,” Aaron called after him. When his little brother turned, Aaron continued. “You had plans with your team tonight, didn’t you?”
He didn’t answer.
“Go. Have fun with the team before the break. They do their Thanksgiving hurrah every year, and you don’t want to miss this one. You’re getting back in again. Don’t let my problems become yours.”
Mike sighed. “Call me if you need me,” he said holding up his cell phone.
“I will. But I won’t need you. He’s leaving soon too.” Aaron assured him.
Mike reluctantly left them alone. When Aaron was sure the front door was shut and was staying shut, he finally acknowledged Ian with a lift of his brow. “Care to explain that?”
“I told him I needed to see you, and he flipped out.” Ian replied. “It’s great to see him protecting you.”
Aaron smiled despite himself. “Yeah, it is.”
Ian walked over to him. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too.”
“I want to be with you. Openly,” Ian said.
Aaron’s mind raced with all the possible ways he could interpret that statement. Finally, he settled on asking. “How open?”

Open
open. I can’t please everyone, right? I certainly can’t please me by catering to what I think other people will say or do. All I know is, I
miss
you. I want to see if your twoperson family can become a three person family with me in it.”
“Do you know what you’re saying?” Aaron heard the skepticism in his question, but it had to be put out there.
“I think so.”
“Don’t think. Know. You need to know you’re ready for whatever shit-storm may kick up from this,” Aaron asserted.
“You can’t ask me for certainty about things I don’t have any way of gauging yet. What you can expect is that whatever comes, I’ll weather it with you. When I told you that I love you, I meant it. It’s not conditional.”
“Yet it sure seemed like it was when you didn’t want to come out and be a visible couple with me.”
“I know, and I owe you an apology for that. Would you be able to take me seriously if I hadn’t admitted I was scared?”
“Probably not,” Aaron agreed. “I’d think you were being flip.”
“I’m here now, though. You were right. I need to live for my happiness and my happiness insists that you’re a part of it. Gimme a chance?”
Aaron wrapped his arms around Ian’s waist. “You got it.” His smile felt a little silly. “It’s not like I got over you so soon. If you’re serious about giving us a real shot, then I’m open to seeing what a relationship with you means.”
“What about Mike?” Ian asked, rubbing Aaron’s back.
“I’ll handle Mike.”
“It’s a little unconventionally fast,” Ian hedged.
Aaron’s heart raced. Was it too fast? Would he lose Ian by pushing him too soon? But things had changed for Aaron and Mikey. They were a family, and he didn’t want anyone or anything to get between them at this delicate stage. They were still testing each other out, figuring out what they could trust in each other and how they’d work together to fill in the gaps.
Leaving Mike to date Ian outside the home, or spend the night at Ian’s away from Mike who continued to struggle with guilt and loss didn’t seem like a viable option to him.
He wanted Ian. Ian seemed to want him, but how much? Aaron came with baggage. He also came with what equated to a teenage son. Would Ian really want to tie himself down for that? Especially so close on the heels of being willing to openly date another man?
He had to try. Ian was worth fighting for, and he’d tried to meet Aaron halfway.
“Not really,” Aaron began. “Get to know us, because Mike is the only family I have, and I’m not going to commit myself to a man who isn’t in it for both of us.”
Ian pressed a soft kiss to Aaron’s lips. “Okay, but fair warning to you. I’m hot for your bod. I thought you wouldn’t have sex with anyone while your brother is living at home.”
Aaron released the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. He couldn’t believe his luck. He looked up at the man he loved, blinking back the tears of relief that stung his eyes.
“I’ve had to revise a lot of things I used to think. Like the definition of family, of future, of financial security. It’s actually a lot more fluid than I’d imagined. You’re not a one-night stand, and Mikey knows it. For now, that’s the definition we’ll work with.”
“Works for me.” Ian slipped out of his arms, catching Aaron’s hand. He walked backward toward the stairs.
“Well, in that case…”
Aaron tore off his clothes just inside the bedroom door, then helped Ian with his. He practically jogged to the bedside table where he kept the supplies for late night “dates” with his right hand and a whole lot of condom-filled wishful fantasies. Admittedly, he’d stocked up after having sex with Ian that first time. He’d wanted to be prepared and having used his only condom then, he wasn’t about to forfeit another mind-blowing session with the man of his dreams because he hadn’t planned ahead.
And because he’d secretly hoped Ian would come back to him, call his bluff and make an honest gay out of him. That Ian was willing to be
out
too, was icing on the proverbial cake.
“I know this is supposed to be a touchy feely moment, but I’ve missed you,” Aaron said. “Do you mind a little haste?”
“Do I—?” Ian paused and turned around. He bent over the side of the bed presenting his perfect ass. “You swore you wanted to do bad things to me last time. I’ve been praying you would.”
Aaron slapped his ass, grabbed the lube and slicked him up. He took a minute to bite the hard muscle too. Ian hollered and laughed. Aaron sheathed his cock, and positioned himself at the other man’s entrance.
“Ian Mitchell,” Aaron began.
“Yes, Aaron Hedlund?”
“This ass,” he said rubbing it. “And these balls,” he murmured, tugging them gently. “Are mine.”
He didn’t give Ian a chance to answer. He pushed in, barely letting Ian’s body adjust before going deeper until he was fully seated.
“Yours,” Ian agreed on a gasp.

Epilogue
November, one year later…

Ian finished setting the table with the fine china. Mike had come a long way, but he still tried to get out of chores and homework. Typical teen, Ian thought.
The smells of turkey permeated the house. Aaron walked in wearing the kiss the cook apron, and Ian wasn’t about to argue with textile genius. He put down the salt and pepper shakers, grabbed Aaron in a hug and kissed the crap out of him.
“Wow,” Aaron said laughing when the kiss ended. “Happy Thanksgiving to you too.”
“Hey, I have to obey the apron. Can’t fault me for that.”
“Note to self: order an apron which reads fuck the cook up the ass repeatedly.”
“I’ll finance that,” Ian offered.
Aaron wrapped his arms around Ian’s neck. “Move in with me.”
Ian’s brows lifted. The year had been eventful but coming out of the closet had been a slow process. Mostly, Leanne had been right. There’d been a few protests and continued to be some snide remarks from parents from time to time, but nothing Ian couldn’t handle.
“Move in?” That was a bigger step. Was he ready, Ian wondered.
“Yeah. You practically live here anyway. Make it official. Mike’s good with it and he only has six more months anyway.”
“What about school? Your school?” Ian asked.
“I have one more year of counseling credits for my grief counseling degree.”
“And you’re still thinking of working this district?” Ian could barely contain his excitement.
“Yep. I talked to the local Board of Education, and it appears that there’s a need for teen grief counselors in the area. They’ve invited me to apply for an internship while I finish my degree. I’d be on call to all the schools in the county, but it would be close to home.”
“I couldn’t think of anyone better qualified,” Ian said, kissing him. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Now. Will you move in or not?”
“Yeah, babe. I’m all yours. I just can’t believe you’re finally, actually all mine.”

About the Author

Mia makes her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she divides her time between a job and spying on people. Mia enjoys long walks in Como Park, daisies, dancing in the snow...(Delete prior sentence, meant for personal ad)...

Mr. Perfect may apply in person for a thorough evaluation and trial. All others will be towed.
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