Always Everything

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Chapter Nineteen

They’d not done anything Friday night. And it wasn’t just because Banner was in the other room. It’s because it wasn’t just about sex. It was so much more. Aubrey didn’t need to cum to feel alive; his dad only had to wrap his arms around him and hold him close.

He pressed his naked body closer to his dad’s naked body. Their morning wood rubbed together and Aubrey’s eyes drifted shut. Hard, velvety flesh sliding together felt so good. Nothing he would’ve thought he’d love.

“We shouldn’t have let your friend stay the night,” his dad mumbled into Aubrey’s hair.

“You know you would have let him stay the night no matter what.” Aubrey couldn’t help the smile that curved his lips.

His dad grunted.

A knock sounded on the bedroom door.

His dad groaned. “Go away.”

“I’ve been up for a few hours. I tried waiting, but I’m hungry. I didn’t want to just raid your kitchen.”

Aubrey chuckled softly as his dad buried his face in his pillow.

“Hours? It’s barely even 8am,” his dad said.

“That’s late for you,” Aubrey whispered.

“When I have my boy in bed, why would I want to get up?”

“That’s all very romantic,” Banner said through the door. “But I feel like my stomach is trying to eat my ribs.”

Aubrey scrunched his nose. “Gross.”

“Why the fuck are you eavesdropping?” His dad said.

“I’m not. You’re just not speaking very quietly.”

Aubrey chuckled. His dad rubbed his face as he groaned again.

“Get whatever the fuck you want.”

“Are you coming down soon? I can make breakfast if you’d like. Remember I know how to fend for myself since my parents aren’t ever around. Well, Sydney is there, but she can be an uptight bitch so I don’t like the foods she makes. It’s all ritzy and shit.”

“For the love of fucking Christ, kid, will you just get the fuck away from my door?”

Aubrey rolled onto his back and laughed.

“Okay. If you want to fuck —”

“Just get your ass downstairs,” his dad yelled.

Aubrey rolled back to his side as he continued laughing.

They heard Banner’s footsteps softly thudding down the stairs.

“You know you like him,” Aubrey said quietly.

His dad’s mouth twitched. “I don’t.”

Aubrey grinned. “It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.”

His dad rolled back to his side, facing Aubrey. His scruffy face and messy hair was the perfect thing to see first thing in the morning. Aubrey had always felt that way, but now it was more.

His dad reached out and carded his fingers through Aubrey’s hair. Aubrey scooter closer, tossing his leg over his dad’s thigh.

They just stared at each other for a few minutes; Aubrey softly caressing his fingertips along his dad’s chest, and his dad gently massaging his fingers in Aubrey’s hair.

“You know, when I was like eight or something, I spent spring break with my dad.”

Aubrey had never heard him talk about his father. He nearly held his breath as his dad spoke.

“He was living in New Mexico at the time, and he’d offered to pay for my plant ticket out there.” His dad’s eyes were roaming slowly over Aubrey’s face. “I was nervous as fucking hell, because I’d only seen my dad a couple of times before then. He was never really around, and I’d only talked with him a few times on the phone. I didn’t really know him, it felt like I was going to visit a stranger.”

Aubrey swallowed. He’d never seen pictures of his dad when he was little, but he could just imagine a little dark haired boy, with dark and light eyes, riding on a plane by himself to meet a stranger.

“The flight attendant who was assigned to watch over me was nice enough, but she was really busy, so I felt alone.” His dad lowered his gaze. The slight vulnerability in his voice clogged Aubrey’s throat. He wasn’t used to seeing his dad this way.

“When I got to New Mexico, the flight attendant walked me out and there was my dad, waiting for me. He didn’t even hug me or touch me, he just gave me a brief nod and smiled at the flight attendant.” His dad scoffed. “He spent the next five minutes flirting with her.”

Aubrey draped his arm over his dad’s waist.

“When we finally left, he’d hardly said a word to me. We went through the drive thru at McDonalds.” He paused, his eyes following the movement of his fingers in Aubrey’s hair. “We ate fast food for the rest of the week.” He chuckled humorlessly. “I was so sick by the end of the week that I ended up throwing up on the plane ride back.”

He looked Aubrey right in the eyes. “He left me alone every day, while he was working, and when he got home at night, he just handed me food and sat in front of the TV.”

Aubrey pressed his fingers into his dad’s back.

“I still don’t get why he paid for me to fly there when he ignored me the whole week.”

Aubrey didn’t know what to say. He didn’t even think there was anything to say. He’d known his dad’s father was an asshole. But he’d not known this.

“That was the last time I saw my dad in person. He tried when I was a teenager, but I refused. I wasn’t going to fly out to wherever the fuck he was so he could ignore my ass the whole time.”

He leaned his forehead against Aubrey’s. “When I found out I was gonna have a kid, I swore to myself I’d never be like that. I swore I’d be better than my fuck up of a dad.”

Aubrey laid his hand on his dad’s cheek. “You have been. You are.”

His dad closed his eyes. “I’m scared I’m not.” The catch in his voice nearly made Aubrey’s heart stop beating. His dad never showed this kind of emotion.

Aubrey knew words weren’t what his dad needed, he’d already told him, over and over again, that he wasn’t a fuck up; that he wasn’t fucking Aubrey up.

He’d have to show him.

Gently, he pressed his lips against his dad’s. Just a whisper of a touch. “You are everything,” he whispered across his dad’s mouth.

His dad tightened his hold on him, bringing their bodies even closer together. Cock against cock, stomach against stomach, chest against chest. Noses brushing, lips tingling, fingers grasping. All gentle. All slow. Nothing rushed.

Want flowed through Aubrey’s veins, but it was more than the lust induced frenzy of a teenage boy wanting an orgasm. It was a deep seated need to love his man; his dad. It was the desire to form a connection with the parent that had selflessly and lovingly raised him.

There was no better way for him to show his love than to be connected in the greatest way two humans could connect. Through their bodies.

A smile split his face as he thought of what his dad would say about his thoughts.

“Your smile always had the power to brighten my fucking day,” his dad muttered. His lips tickling Aubrey’s with each word he uttered.

“You’ve always given me a reason to smile.”

“I feel like I should say something about that line.” His dad grinned. “But I can’t think of anything.”

Aubrey chuckled lightly. “I know you secretly love my cheesy lines.”

His dad grew serious. He raked his fingers through the hair on the back of Aubrey’s head, then down his neck and spine. “I want to give you everything.” He swallowed thickly. “I’ve always...” he paused, his gaze roaming over Aubrey’s face. “I’ve always loved you too much. I don’t know...” he closed his eyes and pressed his face against Aubrey’s on the pillow. “I don’t know if it’s healthy to love someone like that.”

Aubrey opened his mouth to say something, but then decided to keep quiet. He could tell his dad was struggling to find the right words.

He waited.

“Not just because you’re my son.” His dad said quietly.

The words flowed gently around them, boxing them in on every side. It felt like time and society’s rules, couldn’t touch them here. There was nothing but warm skin, whispered breaths, and gentle touches.

“I think,” his dad continued. “To love anyone like this would scare the shit out of me.” He opened his eyes and gazed into Aubrey’s. “But it’s so much more fucking scary because you’re my son. I’ve loved you since the moment you were born. No matter what you do or where you go, I’ll always love you. You could move to Japan and never speak to me again, and I’d still love you...”

Aubrey wanted to shake his head. He wanted to shout that he’d never leave his dad. But all he did was press his hand harder into his dad’s back.

“You could fall in love with a woman, have a big ass wedding and six fucking children, and I’d still love you. You could fucking kill someone and be on death row and that’d not change the love I have for you.”

Aubrey felt heat behind his eyes.

“And that’s just because you’re my son.” He carefully, with measured movements, lifted his head and placed a kiss on Aubrey’s forehead.

Aubrey’s eyes drifted shut, a tear escaping to slide down his cheek.

“To love you as more?” His dad spoke against his forehead. “To love you as my other half? As my soulmate?” His voice cracked on that word. “To love you as my always everything?” He lowered his head back to the pillow they shared. His eyes were bright, that blue smudge seeming to take over the dark brown color. It was like the blue was inside of him. Like Aubrey was inside of him.

“There’s nothing that fucking terrifies me more than the love I have for you.”

Tears ran silently down Aubrey’s cheeks. His heart could hardly beat, it felt so full. His lungs expanded, filling up with the words his dad had spoken. He never wanted to release them. He wanted to store them deep in his soul — no, deeper than that. He wanted him to be engraved on his very core. He wanted them to become liquid, flowing through his veins and pumping blood to his heart. In and out; from his heart to his lungs, giving him life. Keeping him breathing.

Because he knew he’d never breath again if anything happen to his dad. His reason for living was lying right in front of him.

Damn society. Damn their rules. Damn their laws. Damn their moral consciences.

Aubrey knew there wasn’t a goddamn thing wrong with the love between him and his dad.

“There aren’t words,” Aubrey breathed. Nearly silently, his words hardly more than breaths of air. “To say how much I love you.”

His dad’s eyes were shiny with a layer of moisture. “I’ll spend my life trying to be someone you deserve.”

Aubrey smiled softly. “You already are.” He gently pushed on his dad’s shoulder, rolling him to his back. He loomed over him, staring down into the face of the man he’d adored since the moment he’d been born.

No more words were needed.

Aubrey leaned down, pressing his face into the curve of his dad’s neck. He laid a kiss there, lingering, inhaling the essence of him.

Their hard cocks wrapped around each other, like they needed to touch. As if the most private part of them needed the connection that only physical touch brought.

Aubrey opened his mouth and gently sucked on the skin of his neck.

His dad tilted his head back and put his hands on Aubrey’s ass.

Aubrey suckled the skin, his tongue flicking slowly.

It was all slow. Gentle.

This wasn’t about getting off. This was about connection. Love. Understanding.

This was deeper than anything they’d ever done.

This was making love.

His dad caressed his hands up and down on the globes of Aubrey’s ass. The touch was almost reverent.

“You’re my god, Aubrey,” his dad whispered into his ear. “You’re what I believe in. You’re my purpose.”

Aubrey glided his hands up his dad’s arms and into his hair. He tightened his fingers in the strands, then released them. Tightened, released. Tightened, released. Over and over again.

He suckled that spot on his dad’s neck, needing to mark him. To claim him. To keep him.

His dad let him. He didn’t move. He just kept caressing Aubrey’s ass.

Their cocks leaked, their precum mixing and dripping down his dad’s stomach. A slow, steady fire burned in Aubrey’s veins.

He lifted his mouth. A red patch bloomed on the skin. Aubrey flattened his tongue and gave a long, slow lick across it.

His dad moaned quietly, nearly inaudible.

Aubrey licked up his neck, across his jaw, and along his lips.

He kissed him, once. Twice. Their lips smacked softly, the quiet sound loud in the stillness of the room. They’d never kissed like this. So purely. So innocently.

His dad didn’t try to take over. He let Aubrey lead. This was his time; this was Aubrey’s moment.

Aubrey reached down and took their cocks in his hand. They both inhaled sharply at the touch. He could barely hold them both in his hand.

His dad slid one hand from Aubrey’s ass down his hip. His knuckles brushed along Aubrey’s pelvis, as his fingers intertwined with Aubrey’s around their cocks.

They didn’t move. They just stared at each other. Their chests rose and fell together. Their breaths mingled. Their skin shared warmth.

They were them. Dark and light. Young and old. Parent and child.

Yet one.

All other sounds ceased to exist. All people, places, and things didn’t matter anymore. It was just the two of them. Nothing could touch them here. No one could condemn them.

They were safe. Safe in each other’s arms.

Aubrey jerked their cocks, once. A gentle pull, yet it consumed him.

His dad watched him, his hand following Aubrey’s movements.

Each stroke of their joined cocks sent a shock wave to every part of him. Aubrey felt it move through his nerves, his bones and his blood, to the surface of his skin. Not a place was left untouched.

He cupped his dad’s face. They couldn’t look away. Their gazes were locked. Their slippery cocks slid through their hands. It ignited a flame low in his belly.

The orgasm came slow, from deep in his soul. He felt like he’d been hit by a tsunami. It completely obliterated who he was. Only his dad’s gaze kept him grounded. It rebuilt him.

As one they came, silently. Their eyes open, lost in the depths of each other. Their cum spread over their hands, like it was anointing them; their bodies giving their blessing for this union.

They were together as no father and son had ever been before.

They were in love as no couple would ever be again.

They were complete. Remade.

They were whole.

❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎

They came downstairs to the smell of pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage cooking. Sterling didn’t even know he’d had all that shit in his kitchen.

“About time,” Banner muttered. “I had to get creative with keeping the eggs warm.”

“No one said you had to cook everyone breakfast.” Sterling said.

“I don’t mind. It’s nice to cook for someone else other than just myself.”

Well shit.

“It smells great,” Aubrey said as he sat at the kitchen table. It was piled with so much food, there was hardly any room for their plates.

“Do you need any help?” Sterling asked as he stopped by the stove.

“No, I’m good,” Banner said as he dished scrambled eggs onto his plate.

His boy smiled at him as he sat next to him at the table.

And that one smile made him feel like he was fucking floating or some shit.

Banner came over with the pan of eggs.

“I don’t think that’s going to fit on here,” Sterling said.

“I’m just going to give you both some eggs and then put it in the sink.”

“You don’t have to fucking serve us.”

Banner shrugged. “It’s okay. I want to.” And he put some eggs on Aubrey’s and then Sterling’s plate. Afterwards, he filled the pan up with water and left it in the sink.

“Thanks,” Sterling said when Banner had sat down.

“Sure,” he said as he took a bite of his bacon. He was already dressed, wearing mid thigh white shorts and a light green shirt.

He looked at his boy. He was also fully dressed, wearing the same shorts only in sky blue.

“Guess that’s what’s in,” Sterling mumbled as he bit into his toast.

Aubrey’s brows pinched. “What’s in?”

Sterling nodded his chin towards him. “Those short shorts.”

“Those aren’t short. I have shorter,” Banner said.

“What the fuck for? Guys aren’t supposed to wear short shorts.”

Banner stared at him. “Now you sound like one of those religious nuts that wants everyone in the world to wear brown paper bags.”

Sterling growled. “I am not fucking religious like those clinically insane fuckers. I’m a fucking atheist.”

Banner just stared at him. “You’re an atheist?”

“Yeah.” He went back to eating, but he could feel Banner’s gaze on him. And he could fucking see his dark green eyes staring at him from the corner of his goddamn eye.

“Fuck, kid, what is it? I’m trying to fucking eat and I can’t, because you’re staring a hole in the side of my head.”

“I thought we talked about the ‘kid’ thing,” Banner said.

“I agreed to nothing.”

“I didn’t say anything about agreed.”

Aubrey chuckled.

Sterling rubbed his temples. “What the fuck ever.”

“I’m agnostic. Maybe you could teach me a few things about atheism.”

“I’m not a fucking expert on it. I just believe what I believe.”

“Which is nothing.”

Sterling let his fork clatter to his plate. “It’s not nothing. It’s in the existence of human beings because of evolution, not some big guy sitting in the sky creating us. It’s in the fact that we all have free will and we should make good choices because we want to. Again, not because some big guy is sitting in the sky telling us to make certain decisions because it’s what he says is right. We each have a moral compass inside. So everyone needs to grow the fuck up and use it.”

Banner didn’t move. He just continued to fucking stare at him.

Aubrey smirked at Sterling around his mouth full of food.

“See?” Banner finally said. “You already taught me something.”

Sterling blinked.

Aubrey chuckled.

“I wasn’t trying to teach you anything.”

“But you did,” Banner said. He stared for a few more seconds then went back to eating.

“You’re fucking weird,” Sterling said with a slight twitching of his lips.

“You’ve said that before.” Banner didn’t even look up from his plate.

“I thought it needed to be said again.”

“It means he likes you,” Aubrey said.

Sterling narrowed his eyes at his son. “It does not.”

“I know he likes me,” Banner said as he got up. He went to the coffee pot and started making a fresh pot.

Aubrey reached across the table and laid his hand on his. Sterling looked at him. Those eyes were bright, and so fucking happy, that the sight alone made him feel like he was walking on clouds or some stupid shit.

After what they shared this morning, Sterling couldn’t help but feel a bit more healed. It was so dumb sounding in his mind, but he felt it in his soul. His boy had been changing him — for the better — since the very goddamn second he’d found out Allyson was pregnant. Now, his son was healing him. Something he’d not known he’d needed.

He turned his hand over and interlocked his fingers with his boy’s. There wasn’t anything they needed to say. It was like they were able to communicate just through their eyes.

Sterling had never had this connection with another human being before.

Maybe he wasn’t fucked up for having sex with his own kid. Maybe, just maybe, this was what he was supposed to be doing. Maybe Aubrey was the one person in the whole fucking world made for him. In. Every. Goddamn. Way.

Fuck society. Fuck their rules. Fuck their laws. Fuck their goddamn consciences.

There wasn’t a motherfuckin’ thing wrong with the love between him and his boy.

❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎

“You do not get to pick the music,” his dad said to Banner.

They were in his truck, driving to the beach. Banner was in the back seat, with his iPhone out.

“Why?”

“Because last time you picked some weird shit about naked guys and being homo or some shit.”

Banner shifted his eyes between them. Aubrey knew what was coming.

“Why would that bother you considering the nature of your relationship?”

His dad scowled. “You mean because Aubrey’s my kid?”

“No, because he’s a guy, you’re a guy. That makes two guys. Two males doing sexual things together means they’re gay. Or they could identify as bi or pan or whatever. So, it shouldn’t bother you when someone sings about liking boys.”

His dad sighed. Aubrey laughed as he leaned his head back on the seat.

“You’re still not picking the music.”

“I’ll put on something completely different.”

“C’mon, Dad.” He smirked at him. “Banner’s completely harmless. Let him play his music.”

His dad scowled harder. “Fine. But I’m shutting the damn thing off at the first mention of guys fucking or sucking each other’s dicks.”

Banner and Aubrey looked at each other. Then they both started laughing.

His dad nearly swerved off the road. “What the fucking hell?!” He turned wide eyes to Banner. “You laugh?”

Aubrey laughed harder.

Just as quickly as he’d laughed, Banner’s stoic expression came back. “Rarely. But I do.”

“You nearly gave me a goddamn heart attack.”

“You like being dramatic, don’t you?” Banner said as he fiddled with the knobs on the stereo.

“I’m not fucking dramatic. That makes me sound like some fucking pussy.” He flicked Banner’s hand away. “What the hell are you doing to my truck?”

“I’m connecting my phone to it.” Banner just kept pushing buttons.

His dad furrowed his brows. “You better not be doing some weird shit, like programming it to spy on me or some shit.”

Banner sat back. “You’re paranoid too.”

“I’m not fucking paranoid. But this is you we’re talking about. Who the fuck knows what you’re capable of.”

Banner paused. “That’s actually true.”

Aubrey saw the humor hiding in his dad’s gaze. He knew he actually liked these verbal spars with Banner.

Aubrey felt the happiness in his heart expand. He didn’t think it could, but every time he looked at his dad, he felt a bit more happiness added to what was already there.

A song started blasting in the car. Aubrey laughed when he realized what it was.

Been working so hard

I'm punching my card

Eight hours, for what?

Oh, tell me what I got

I've got this feeling

That time's just holding me down

I'll hit the ceiling

Or else I'll tear up this town

So now I gotta cut loose

Footloose

Kick off the Sunday shoes

Please, Louise

Pull me off of my knees

Jack, get back

Come on before we crack

Lose your blues

Everybody cut footloose


“Fucking hell,” his dad muttered.

“It’s not Todrick Hall,” Aubrey said. He grinned at his dad.

“No,” his dad looked at him. “But it’s just as bad.”

“We should watch this later today when we get back,” Banner said. “I have it on my iPhone.”

“Fuck no. We are not watching ‘Footloose’.”

“If we watch anything it will probably be ‘Rocky’,” Aubrey said. “He watches that movie all the time.”

“That’s a good movie. But not the best one. ‘Rocky IV’ was better.”

“What?” His dad sounded like Banner just committed a felony. “What planet are you from? None of the others even come close to the original movie.”

As Banner and his dad went back and forth debating about which Rocky movie was better, Aubrey knew he really was the happiest he’d ever been in his life.

And he knew it would only get better.

❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎

The beach was fucking hot. Sterling had no fucking idea why he was there, in the goddamn sun, when he worked in this heat every day.

“Why are you sitting under the umbrella glaring at the world?” His son asked from the towel next to him. His eyes were closed and he was lying on his stomach. His tight, and short, swim trunks were light blue with flamingos on them.

Sterling’s were black.

He’d already caught more than one girl checking his boy out. He’d practically growled at them until they got the picture and waltzed their little asses away.

“I’m not glaring.”

Aubrey chuckled and squinted his eyes open. “I can feel you glaring.”

“You’re going to get burned.” He glanced at Aubrey’s light skin. A thin layer of sweat beaded on his back and thighs. The slick skin made Sterling’s dick twitch.

Fuck. He wanted to lick that moisture up.

“Guess you’ll have to lather me up with aloe vera when we get home.”

“Do I get lathered up too?” Banner asked from the other side of Aubrey.

“No fucking way,” Sterling said.

Banner was lying on his back, on his rainbow pride towel, with his rainbow sunglasses on, and his rainbow shorts. Kid couldn’t have been any more obvious if he’d been holding a ten foot sign that read; “I’m Gay”.

“What if I’m burned?”

“Put more sunscreen on,” Sterling grunted.

“Speaking of sunscreen...” Aubrey sat up...slowly. His ass popped in the air like a goddamn cat stretching.

“Get your ass down,” he growled.

Aubrey just laughed. The sound was so free and alive, that the people around them all looked at his boy.

Sterling glowered at every one of them.

“Dad,” his boy’s soft voice drew his attention back to him.

Aubrey was up on his knees, his toned chest and pink nipples on display. It made Sterling want in a way he’d never thought possible.

Aubrey scooted over to him. Once he was under the umbrella he leaned against his chair. The smell of hot sun, body oil, and sunscreen mixed to create a tantalizing scent.

“I know you’re telling everyone to fuck off with your eyes.” Aubrey folded his arms over the arm of the beach chair. He leaned in, and Sterling couldn’t help the goddamn hitch in his breath.

“I thought I told you I was yours.” His warm breath ghosted over Sterling’s face. He fucking got goosebumps. In ninety degree weather.

“You are. But that doesn’t mean these fuckers can stare at you.”

The corner of Aubrey’s lip tilted up. And goddamn, did Sterling want to kiss that mouth.

“I love my caveman.”

“I hate that word.” He found himself leaning towards his son’s face.

“Possessive?”

“A little better.”

“Alpha?”

“Now you’re just sounding like a cheesy shifter novel.”

Aubrey scrunched his nose. “How do you even know about those?”

He looked straight ahead, at the waves. “I’ll never tell.”

Aubrey nudged his cheek with his nose. “You’ve read one, haven’t you?” There was laughter in his voice.

“I have fucking not.”

Aubrey pushed his face into his cheek again. “I think you have.”

Sterling turned his face, his gaze colliding with his boy’s. He was so close, that mouth only a couple of inches away.

“You know,” Aubrey licked his lips. “No one here knows we’re related.”

Sterling’s eyes lowered to that mouth. He had tasted it just this morning, but he felt a bone deep need to taste it again. His son was like his own personal drug. Addicting and necessary.

“Are you asking for a kiss?”

Aubrey nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

Under the umbrella, with people surrounding them, he laid his lips on his son’s. The touch was hotter than the sun, burning his lips.

Aubrey put his hand on the side of Sterling’s face. He opened his mouth, wanting the flavor of his boy on his tongue. Aubrey instantly stuck his tongue in his mouth.

Sterling moaned quietly when their wet tongues met.

“You have balls to make out in public.”

Sterling wanted to growl at Banner for interrupting their moment.

Aubrey didn’t appear to hear him; he just kept on kissing him. Sterling felt his dick stiffen. Oh shit, he wished they were home.

He gripped Aubrey’s upper arm as he broke the kiss.

“I wish we were home,” Aubrey whispered.

They were breathing a bit heavier.

“Me too.” Sterling leaned his head against Aubrey’s forehead.

“Anyone want some ice cream?”

Aubrey chuckled as Banner crawled under the umbrella.

“You’re getting sand on my towel,” Sterling said.

“Is that a yes?”

Aubrey looked at Banner.

Sterling couldn’t help but stare at his son’s face. His cheekbones and forehead were already a little sunburnt. His thick lashes appeared darker against his sun reddened skin. And his hair was more golden.

As Aubrey shifted his face back around, Sterling felt like he’d been hit in the gut. Those bright fucking eyes grinned at him, as if Aubrey knew everything going on in Sterling’s head.

“I guess we’re getting ice cream.”

“What?” He must have missed something.

“Ice cream,” his boy repeated. “We’re going to the stand to buy some.”

“What stand?”

Aubrey chuckled. “There’s a food truck near the road that’s selling ice cream.”

“I guess I’m supposed to be the one to stay behind and watch our shit?”

“If you would be so kind,” Banner said.

Sterling glared at him. “I could make your ass stay behind.”

“It was my idea.” Banner stared at him. He was kneeling on the towel at Sterling’s feet. Not that close, but still closer than Sterling was used to people being. Only Aubrey got close to him.

“Dad,” Aubrey said as he kissed his cheek. “We’ll be right back.”

“Get me some chocolate fudge ice cream,” he said as the boys stood and trudged across the sand.

He watched them weave through people and chairs, until they reached the sidewalk and stood in line. Banner’s tiny, brightly colored, shorts stuck out like a neon sign.

As he turned back around, Sterling closed his eyes and sighed. A smile pulled at his lips. It was turning out to be a pretty fucking perfect day.

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