The Man I Love

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What Comes Next

It was hard to get out of bed the next morning. More than anything, Aiden wanted to snuggle up to his boyfriend under their warm covers and kiss him lazily until the man woke up. No wait, not his boyfriend. His fiancé.

Aiden smiled widely, the events of the previous night flooding back to him. The memory of Kellen’s lips on his, of the man’s hands running over and inside his body, of that teasing smile mixed with low moans—it all made Aiden want to just stay in bed all day and do it all over again.

But Kellen had work, and Aiden had promised to help his brothers with some errands they were doing on their days off.

That didn’t mean that he couldn’t still wake Kellen up with a kiss though, or with a few kisses as he mouthed up Kellen’s jaw. The man was soundly asleep for about a minute before he groaned tiredly.

“’m I late fur work?” Kellen mumbled, not opening his eyes. His nose was scrunched up cutely, his brown hair splayed out messily.

Aiden smiled against the line of his neck. “No. That’s your first thought?”

Kellen’s hand ran up to rest in Aiden’s hair, running through it calmly. “The only time you’re up earlier than me on a work day is if I’m late,” he said more clearly, amusement shining through in his voice. “How much time do we have before I have to get up?”

“Um… we’re ten minutes before your alarm,” Aiden checked. “Sorry,” he apologized, knowing how much Kellen hated being woken even a minute before his alarm.

Kellen scraped his blunt nails over Aiden’s scalp. Aiden’s eyes closed in pleasure as Kellen ran those fingers through his hair slowly. “I’m not sorry,” he said lowly, his voice still hoarse with sleep. “With ten minutes, maybe you can help me out here because with you kissing me like that, this was my first thought of the day.”

When Kellen shifted closer, Aiden understood what he meant. He felt Kellen’s morning excitement through his sweats. With the heat under the covers and the low rumble of Kellen’s voice, Aiden could feel himself getting worked up too.

“You’re not tired out from last night?” Aiden asked teasingly, already aware of the answer.

Kellen grinded into him slowly, lazily. “Not if you aren’t. You know how much stamina I have.”

Aiden smiled, kissing Kellen slowly. He loved these lazy kisses, where there was nothing but the two of them for just a little while before the world began spinning again.

Ten minutes was a short amount of time for the world to stop, but it was enough for Aiden when Kellen’s alarm went off and they both had to get out of bed. They showered together, keeping it tame as they cleaned up with only short kisses and laughs in between.

Aiden stared at Kellen the entire time, his eyes catching onto the marks he’d made on Kellen’s chest, hips, and thighs. He would have loved to mark up Kellen’s pale neck, but that definitely wouldn’t look too good when Kellen went to work.

Kellen was clearly aware of the staring, smiling coyly as he gently washed the marks that he’d made on Aiden’s chest and stomach. Even under the hot water of the shower, Aiden felt himself shiver with pleasure at the careful touch. He was fit and strong, but sometimes, it felt nice to be treated softly, like he was something breakable.

They got out of the shower before they could distract themselves again, Kellen drying and dressing quickly as he ran to call Olivia and B to make sure they were good to go with the weather. Aiden was still dressing himself when he heard the doorbell ring.

“I got it!” Kellen called from the kitchen.

Aiden smoothed out his shirt as he passed Kellen on his way into the kitchen, the brunette hip-checking him for fun. He chuckled and put on some water for Kellen’s tea, throwing a few pieces of bread in the toaster for himself. After last night, he was absolutely starving.

“The snow is nice to look at and all that, but I think I’m done,” Isaac said from the other room. “I couldn’t even get my car out this morning! Lyla and I had to shovel hers out together.”

“What, and you didn’t have time to get yours out too?” Kellen asked, his voice getting closer.

“I was already taking Nikki to school,” Ian answered for him, “so it was easy to swing by for him on the way.”

“Do I have to go to school? I’m pretty sure it’s still storming, dad. Can’t I stay home?”

Aiden smiled to himself, remembering how Ian used to ask their mom the same thing. And about how stupid the school district could be keeping school open when it really shouldn’t have been.

Ian sighed. “Nikki, it’s only like two days until your winter break. You’ve got to go to school if it’s open. You’re already on a two-hour delay anyway, so you’re not even there the whole day.”

Aiden could practically hear Nikki pouting as he poured the hot water in a coffee cup with a tea bag and sugar and put his own toast on a plate. He was biting into a piece as his brothers, niece, and fiancé entered the room, Kellen leaning over on the counter next to him.

“Mmm, thanks hun,” he hummed as he took a sip of his warm tea. “With sugar, just like I like it.”

Isaac made a face as he sat on one of the barstools across from them, Ian on the one next to him. “I still don’t get why you like tea. It always tastes like earth to me.”

Kellen smiled to himself, choosing not to answer as he took another sip. His eyes had slipped shut again, his chin resting in his palm, his forearms on the countertop.

Ian rolled his eyes at Isaac, choosing to ignore the comment as well. “After we drop Nikki off, we need to pick up the rest of our Christmas gifts,” Ian said to Aiden, watching with a raised eyebrow as he finished his toast in about a minute. “We could get breakfast first if you want though. I don’t think I’ve seen you eat that fast since…” He narrowed his eyes, looking like something had just occurred to him. “Since you were sixteen and I came home for break, but you just had to get to school early… that was when you were seeing Kellen, wasn’t it?”

Isaac scoffed. “Well Kellen’s right here this time, so what, did you two ‘oversleep’ and ‘miss breakfast’?” he asked teasingly, deliberately avoiding being explicit with Nikki there. From her frown, Aiden couldn’t really tell if she caught onto the implication or not, but he hoped that she hadn’t.

Either way, Aiden flushed in embarrassment at how easily his brothers had seen through him, but Kellen patted his hand calmly without even opening his eyes. “I’m sure you don’t really want us to answer,” Kellen answered for him. “Good times in high school though,” he mumbled.

Aiden smiled thinking about the morning Ian was asking about. His ears were still red, but it was hard to feel embarrassed with Kellen’s calm presence next to him. “We used to kiss in the locker room before classes started,” he explained to his eldest brother.

“And yes, only kiss,” Kellen clarified, opening his eyes to give them both a stern look.

They both smiled anyway, clearly not believing him. Normally, Nikki might have been smiling as usual too, but for some reason, she was staring at Kellen and Aiden curiously instead. She frowned, tilting her head. “Uncle Kellen?”

“Yeah, Nic?” Kellen said, training his gaze on her.

“Are you and Uncle Aiden engaged?” she asked innocently.

Neither Ian nor Isaac reacted to her question. She’d asked when they were getting married often enough over the years, but she’d never used the word “engaged” before.

Kellen smiled indulgently at her. “Yes, we are.”

“What?!” Ian and Isaac said it together, making Kellen laugh so heartily that he had to put his tea mug down before he spilt it all over the counter.

“Wait, seriously?” Isaac asked suspiciously, “Or are you just messing with us?”

Aiden smiled at his still-laughing fiancé. “We’re really engaged, Isaac.” He found himself pulled into an awkward hug across the counter by Isaac, just before Ian jumped around for a longer embrace. “This is great, guys,” Ian said happily, hugging Kellen too as the man was reduced to small chuckles.

“Yeah, seriously. My dear younger brother finally getting married,” Isaac said dramatically. He turned to Nikki. “But how did you know, Nikki?”

Nikki gave her uncle and father a frown, clearly thinking that the answer was obvious. “They’re wearing rings,” she said simply, her face breaking out into a smile again.

Her to-the-point statement set Kellen off again. “She’s so smart,” he got out with difficulty. “And their faces…!”

Aiden smiled fondly as Kellen tried to calm down. “Drink that,” he said, pointing to the tea. “We’re not repeating that time at Isaac’s wedding.”

“Oh my god, don’t remind me of that now or I’ll never stop,” Kellen said in between peals of laughter. He took some deliberate breaths, but he only started to relax when Nikki ran up to hug the both of them around the waists.

“You’re going to get married!” she said excitedly. “I mean, you’re already my uncle, Uncle Kellen, but now you’ll be my real uncle!”

“Maybe more like your legal one,” Aiden said with a laugh.

Nikki ignored his last statement entirely. “So, there’s going to be a fun wedding and I’ll have more cousins soon?” There were practically sparkles in her eyes.

“That’s the plan, Nic,” Aiden said with amusement. “You’ll have some more aunts too with Uncle Kellen’s sisters.”

“Maia and Rory!” Nikki said, bouncing happily. She absolutely adored the two older girls, becoming fast friends with them. Even though twenty-one-year-old Maia was now in college studying hotel management while nineteen-year-old—almost twenty—Rory was already working at some statistics job, the group of them kept in touch constantly.

“Yeah, but it’s time for school now,” Ian interrupted sternly, or as sternly as he possibly could with the smile still on his face.

Nikki huffed unhappily. “But dad, it’s like a special occasion, right?”

“Aw, but two-hour delay days are so much fun, Nic,” Kellen said to her. “There was one time when we had a delay, me and Uncle Aiden, but we both got to school early anyway. We had a snowball fight, and you know your uncle is a baseball player, so really, I didn’t stand much of a chance. But see, I’m pretty tough too, so I…”

Aiden smiled at the story as Kellen quickly got Nikki’s attention, slipping on his own coat and directing her to the door. That snowball fight ended in the both of them soaking wet when they went to school. Aiden had changed into his gym clothes, but Kellen hadn’t bothered, smiling distractedly every time Aiden saw him that day.

Aiden was sure that he was smiling like that himself when Ian clapped him on the back and Isaac gave him a proud smile. Something about that moment was surreal as a memory of the three of them as kids resurfaced.

They’d come pretty far. Aiden couldn’t wait to see where they’d go next.

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