Authors: Amylea Lyn
The two officers gave each other a look and both turned toward the door to wait for back up and EMTs, letting the three men share their moment. It seemed wrong to intrude, and the situation no longer seemed as dire as it appeared to have been before.
The questions could happen soon enough.
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One year later…
“Aiden, what’s going on? Where are we going?” Cael asked, practically bouncing in his seat. Aiden grinned at the happy and excited look on his lover's face as he drove his Saturn toward the unknown location.
“It’s a surprise, birthday boy, you know that. Jake and I are sworn to secrecy. Besides, if I tell you that ruins the whole purpose of a surprise, doesn’t it?” He laughed at the pout that formed on his sweet boy’s face, but this was one time he refused to give in.
Cael sighed, then smiled. “Fine, but drive faster. I want to know so badly, and it’s not often I get surprises. Even my dreams are conspiring against me to keep it a secret, I swear!”
Aiden chuckled, happy that Cael was so happy. It had been a year since the Max Haring debacle; a year filled with extensive therapy for all, lots of personal time off, the trial for Cael’s other abuser and his testimony against the man, and the careful rebuilding of their lives.
The only thing that hadn’t changed was the love between the three of them; he, Jake, and Cael. If anything, it had only gotten stronger. The three of them meshed together so well it was scary. Of course, there were still fears, still nightmares on all sides, and still a need to prove to themselves that they were all alive and whole that struck at odd moments, but all in all they had managed to find the strength to go on.
For Aiden himself, he knew it would take a lifetime to
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get over the memory of Cael, his sweet boy, shooting Max moments before the man would have killed him and Jake, and then stumbling over to the bed to collapse between the two of them as the police burst through the door. He knew for a fact that Jake had similar nightmares, and Cael’s were even worse sometimes, along with his frequent dreams into the future. But after a year of hard work, the three of them had persevered, and now it was once again time to celebrate Cael’s birthday. Their sweet boy was twenty now, and he and Jake had something special planned.
“Is mom still gonna come down next week?” Cael asked suddenly.
Aiden grinned, tickled that Cael had taken to calling his mother mom. Just as he had predicted, his mother absolutely adored Cael, as did his sisters and brother, not to mention that Uncle Cael was now a favorite among the nieces and nephews. “Yeah. She tried to make it down this week for a visit, but couldn’t catch a flight. She’s excited to see your gift, too.”
“What?” Cael asked, slapping Aiden’s thigh where his hand rested. “Even your mom knows!”
Aiden just laughed at the mock outrage on Cael’s face.
“Are you kidding? It was her idea,” Aiden replied as he pulled up to the park where they were meeting up with Jake and the special presents. He couldn’t wait to see Cael’s response to the two mini schnauzer puppies he and Jake had gotten from a schnauzer rescue program.
After seeing Cael play with his mother’s own schnauzer, it seemed like a given that Cael was meant to have some of his own.
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And judging by the open-mouthed shock on Cael’s face as he spotted Jake standing there with the two small, gray puppies, it had been a perfect idea.
“A-Aiden, they…they’re for me?” Cael asked, in a near whisper.
Aiden smiled. “Yep…” He got nothing more out as Cael jumped out of the car and ran full speed toward their new babies, skidding to his knees to be devoured by puppy kisses. Aiden followed at a more sedate pace, sharing a brief kiss with his laughing lover as they both watched their little love frolic in the grass like a kid.
“Any trouble?” he asked Jake.
Jake shook his head. “One peed in my Jeep, but other than that, no. I got a boy and a girl, both fixed, so we won’t have any extra puppies running around soon.”
Jake winked, and Aiden mentally sighed with relief.
Two puppies was going to be hard enough, what with Cael starting his first semester of college soon, but both Aiden and Jake had both agreed to take on a bit of the burden. Their sweet boy was going to be a teacher, and with his paintings starting to sell, Aiden knew that if anyone could inspire a child to open their mind to the arts, it was Cael.
“Oh, guys, thank you, thank you, thank you! I love them. They’re so precious!” Cael crowed, eyes shining with happiness as he gently removed his sweater sleeve from the boy pup’s mouth and scratched the girl’s belly.
“I can’t believe they're mine!”
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Jake laughed. “Yep, they’re yours. Drool, poop, puppy teeth and all. What are you going to name them?” he asked.
Cael thought for a moment, then grinned. “I’ll name the girl Holly, and the boy Humphrey,” he stated. Jake raised a brow at him, but Aiden just smiled. Whatever worked.
“Sounds good,” he said, squatting down next to Cael.
“Hi, Holly. Hi, Humphrey. Welcome to the family.”
Both puppies responded by rushing him, Holly jumping up to his chest and knocking him down, while
Humphrey attacked his shoe.
Aiden sighed, then started to chuckle, looking up at the two laughing faces of the most important people he’d ever loved. From that first day in the hospital, to now being mauled by overly exuberant puppies, and
everything in between, he wouldn’t change the end result for the world.
Pulled up into Jake's arms and meeting both his lovers’
lips for a sweet three-way kiss, he had to smile.
It was a dream come true, one he and Jake didn’t know they had… Cael had drawn it that way.
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