Chapter 22 ~ Being A Man
“Are you sure? You’re not disappointed?” Cole looks up at me incredulously.
“Disappointed? Are you kidding me?”
“Jesus you two, I’m not lugging more boxes up here unless you decide whether or not you’re staying.” Theadasia flops down on my bed with an exhausted huff, I don’t know why? She’s carried two boxes up.
“Oh Daisy, we are staying. C’mon Kae, we need to get this done before I get any fatter.”
“You’re thirteen weeks preggers, I’m pretty sure you haven’t gained any weight sweet lips.”
Cole kisses me on the cheek, “not yet, but I will and I will be the size of a house by the time we finish if we don’t stop arguing about this and get a fucken move on… Master,” she purrs seductively.
“Master? Jesus, I don’t even wanna know what ya’ll are into.” Pierce winks as he enters Avaleria’s old bedroom.
“Master? Do you have a playroom too?” Lyera questions.
“A what?” My sisters face pales as Pierce bursts into laughter.
“Um… um… nothing.”
Cole and I take a quick glance at each other in suspicion as Lyera drops the box and ducks out the doorway quickly. “Playroom?” I ask Pierce.
He just shrugs with a smirk on his face. “I don’t know what she’s talking about,” he drops his collection of stuff onto the bed and exits.
“Do you think they have a dungeon? Because that’s exactly what it sounded like?” Cole queries.
“A what?” Theadasia asks innocently.
“Nothing baby sis, you go get the rack of clothes from Coles truck,” I order and she huffs before walking out. I turn to Cole, “surely not?”
She just shrugs nonchalantly, “there were some rumours circulating that Pierce was a Dom a few years ago… maybe?”
That dirty fucken bastard. “How come I didn’t hear them?”
“Because my handsome man,” she places her hand on my shoulder, “you have your head in the clouds.”
I grab her and toss her onto the bed, peppering kisses all over her beautiful face, “you… are… such… a… shit… head.”
“Alright you two, we’re not doing all this work moving you in just so you can play around.” Dad smiles as he and Mum waltz in.
“Sorry Dad,” I blush.
“Hush Tom, leave Cole alone…” Mum chides and walks over to Cole, holding her belly, “that’s my grandbaby in there.”
“Our grandbaby,” Dad scolds, to which mum rolls her eyes and Cole chuckles.
“How did it all go with your parents Cole?” Dad asks.
Her face falls. “Not so good, thank you for allowing me to move in.”
He waves her thanks off, “please, we are the lucky ones.”
“I’m sorry baby,” Mum offers cupping her cheek.
“No, it’s okay – better in fact,” she smiles widely.
“Why?” I asked with confusion on my face. “Oh, I know, because Dad’s cookouts produce great hotdogs,” I kid.
Coles snorts, “how did you know?” she winks playfully, “no, my grandmother listened in on the whole conversation. As Kae and I loaded up the car with my stuff she called me in…”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot to ask what she said.”
“Well…” Cole smiles. “She said as long as we find land – she’ll buy us a house to live in.”
Blood drains from my face, “what?” I gasped.
“You can have the back paddock!” Mum and Dad scream at the same time.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…” I remove my tanned Stetson hat and rake my fingertips through my hair. “What?”
Cole nods, “my parents may have money, but Nan has more and she was super impressed by the way you stood your ground against them, even took their abuse. She said I’d found a decent man and that this was a great way to give the middle finger to my mother.”
“I gotta get more boxes,” I state and stride out of there.
But I didn’t go to the car, I walked straight into the stables and began to saddle up my horse Bucky. As I’m finishing Dad comes in, “what’s going on son?”
“Nothing, just feel like taking a ride.”
“Mmhhmm, and the fact that you’ve just been told you two are being gifted a house has nothing at all to do with it?” I kick a stray bucket in frustration. “Well, that just confirmed what I already knew.”
“I’m a man, Dad.”
“Yes Kaeron, I’d be worried if you weren’t because we’ve been treating you as though you were one since the day you were born. I’ll let your mother know you no longer need dresses, you’ve discovered you’re a man.”
I can’t help but give him a tight-lipped smile, “I’m not laughing.”
“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” he says, beaming up at me knowing full well he was.
“I don’t have two cents to my name. We’re moving into Avaleria’s old room because there’s a fucken bathroom attached to it. I got a kid on the way and Mum still does my fucken laundry – I’m meant to provide the house for my family, not my girlfriend’s grandmother.”
“So you feel emasculated?”
“I guess. I’m not where I thought I would be in life, I sure as shit didn’t think Cole would even give me a shot when I hit on her, I didn’t think about the future. I just – I wanted to be the one to provide for my family, granted I thought I would be older before having a baby and well, it’s Coles fault for being so goddamn beautiful, I couldn’t bloody keep my hands off her. It should be me that is building the house.”
“Kaeron, our house, is only ours because I borrowed the money from Enderly’s father.” Huh, I didn’t know that. Dad sat down on the wooden shoe crate. “He hated my guts, did you know?” I shook my head. “Well, he did. A man isn’t a man because of how much money he has in his pocket, a man is a man because of what he does to show his family how much he loves them. You have put your heart and soul into this farm, choosing to forgo a weekly wage to ensure the animals have continual feed or to help see your family through the winter. Now, your priorities have changed because you are growing a family of your own and I get it – I do. Son, you are a kind, brilliant, hardworking man and you have sacrificed a lot for our family. Just because you’re being given an opportunity does not mean you are any less of a man, it’s something you both clearly deserve.
“One day, there’s no doubt you will be able to provide anything and everything for your growing brood – when you get older but right now you’re young and this is a generous thing Cole’s grandmother is doing – a gift because she believes in you both and wants you to succeed. You have no idea just how many hours of sleep I’ve lost fretting over this exact thing, feeling like I wasn’t worthy enough, that I wasn’t ‘man’ enough. At the end of the day, all that really matters is that your soul mate is happy, the bills are insignificant. From what I’ve seen – you are more of a man than I ever was Kaeron, Cole’s grandmother can see you for the man you truly are and clearly knows your worth. Right now though, Cole is upset and doesn’t understand what she said wrong. So, what are you going to do about it?”
“You don’t think any less of me?”
Dad sighed, “you’re upset because your pride took a hit – false pride. Do you think Pierce brought his house? No, he and his father built it as they figured out a way to turn their farm into a profit. I’m not a businessman, I’ve never had a business head on my shoulders, but seeing the way this family pulls together in times of need – in times of strife… that is when I know I did something right and the fact we aren’t loaded is inconsequential. My proudest moments have been watching the amazing adults you kids are growing into, decent, with incredible hearts. Do you know how much it has destroyed me knowing I failed Lyera? This is why I’m here, to remind you that the only important thing in life – is your family.
“If you do or if you don’t allow her grandmother to buy you two the house, your mother and I are always going to love you and if you have to live in our house until you’re old and grey then so be it, not going to lie, I love having you kids here. So to answer your question, no, I will never think any less of you and if your friends make fun of you or put you down about it, then they aren’t your real friends. But this will be my final word on the subject and then the decision is yours… you have sacrificed everything to help us work this property – you deserve this, don’t make a decision because your pride took a hit, base your decision on what is best for you, Cole and your child.”
Dad left the stables as I stood there thinking over everything he had just lain out and dammit, he was right. I was pissed because I felt emasculated, my pride was making me furious, my ego was getting in the way. “Sorry Bucky,” I said to my horse. “Can’t go riding today, I gotta be a man.”
I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand a word I said, but as a strode out of that stable, I knew what I had to do – I had to swallow my pride and put my family first.
I walked in to find Pierce and Avaleria in the bathroom consoling my sweet lips, shit I feel like an ass.
“Baby, can we…”
“Fuck you Kae,” Lyera spat, “how dare you make her cry, she loves you more than life…”
“Calm down sis, I know I was an ass,” I cut her off, holding up my hand.
“C’mon cowgirl,” Pierce pulls Avaleria out of the bathroom, flashing me a sympathetic look.
“Fine, I’m going…” Lyera spits, “I love you Kaeron Thomas Jonahson, but I swear to god, I will kick you in the shin if you ever make that woman cry again.”
I chuckle at her, “alright Rambo, calm down,” Pierce teases as they exit.
“You planning on fishing out the pills Lyera flushed down the toilet?”
She looks over at the loo stationed beside her with bloodshot glassy eyes and tears streaming down her face, my heart ached, I had caused that. “Oh, god, is that this toilet? Will they come back up?”
“Sweet lips, if those things make a reappearance that means there’s something wrong with the plumbing in this house and I will have to dig through everyone’s shit to solve it.”
“Could you fix it?” I furrowed my brow.
“Yes,” she just nods and wipes away the tears.
“I don’t know how to fix it.”
I snort, “I had to learn to fix everything. We didn’t have the money available for a professional.”
“That’s why you rushed out, isn’t it?”
“Yep, because it’s my responsibility as a man to take care of you and my offspring.”
“I’m sorry Kae, I didn’t think. I should have discussed…”
“No Cole. I’m sorry.” I sat down in front of her with my legs resting either side of her body. “See, I have this idea in my head about ‘what constitutes a man’ and what Dad pointed out, was what makes a man is how he loves his family – not the amount of money in his pocket.”
“Right, but I should have realised, this was part of your hesitation with us being a couple in the first place.”
“Yeah, for some silly reason I feel worthless because I can’t give you the millionaire lifestyle you deserve.”
She shuffles closer, rolling her fists in my shirt as she slips her luscious legs over my thighs. “Kaeron, how many times do I have to tell you before you get it through that stupidly thick skull of yours? I love you… I want you… I don’t care if we live in this room forever, in knapsacks smelling like onions, because I will have you.”
“That might be our future sweet lips.”
Cole chortles, “then so be it. I have had a crush on your sexy ass since junior high, did you know that?” I shook my head. “I know one day you will build us the best home in the world because you can do anything, hell, the garage couldn’t even find the reason behind the reverse sensor not working on my truck but you could… are you a mechanic?” I shook my head. “No, and the shoes – for the horses, are you a blacksmith?” I scoff and shake my head, “no, and if the plumbing breaks? Are you a plumber?”
“No,” I shake my head again.
“No, but yet you possess all of these incredible skills, not to mention how fucken talented you are in the bedroom. Do you know what skill my Dad possesses?”
“He knows how to write a check – that’s his skill.”
“I get what you’re saying Cole, I do. I just wanted to be the one to get us land, a home and a farm…”
She presses her lips gently against mine to stop my mouth moving. “And I don’t doubt for a second that you will. If Nan wants to buy us a house, let her, it’s walls and a roof… we can start saving for the actual home… the home you, baby and I want together, but if it means that much to you then we say no and you and I create our own future. Kae, if the apocalypse happened tomorrow, I’m bloody certain we would survive because of you. But there is one thing I won’t ever live without… this means more to me than anything and I am putting my foot down right now about it.”
“What sweet lips.”
“You Kaeron, I can’t live without you… ever.”
“So you don’t care if I say no to the house?”
“Nope!” She says without any hesitation and locked completely on my Caribbean blues.
“Fine, that’s all I needed to hear. She can buy us a house if she wants too, but I will build us our dream home, do you hear me, Cole?”
She licks her lips seductively. “Oh I don’t doubt you in the slightest,” Cole whispers as she crawls on top of me, pushing me back onto the floor of the bathroom.
“Sweet lips, we have a car to unpack.” She captures my lips with hers and grinds her jean clad pussy against my rising soldier.
“Later…” she states against my lips as she rubs herself against me, “right now… oooohhhh… I want you.”