Always Everything

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Chapter Twenty-Two

Aubrey woke up at midnight. His dad was sleeping soundly next to him. The sheets were damp from their combined sweat and it was still over their heads.

He stared for a few moments at the man he loved. His dark lashes were so long. He had an urge to brush his fingertip along them as they laid against his cheek. He didn’t touch him though. Not even to kiss those slightly parted lips.

Being as careful as he could, he pushed the sheet back. Cool air hit his clammy skin. He slowly got out of bed.

He closed the door and tiptoed down the stairs naked.

All the lights were still on in the kitchen. Aubrey padded across the tile floor and flipped them all off. He didn’t want light tonight.

His cell phone was sitting on the little table, just where he’d lift it.

He swiped his thumb across the screen and went to his contact list.

He called Banner.

It rang once.

“Hello?” He didn’t even sound tired.

“He knows.”

A pause.

“Who knows?”

“Remy.” He fell into the chair.

Another pause.

“About you and your dad?”

Aubrey leaned his elbow on the table, rubbing his eyes. They burned from all the crying.


Banner didn’t say anything for a few seconds.

“He’s not okay with it.” It wasn’t a question.

Aubrey swallowed. “He’s not.”

“Which means what?”

Aubrey didn’t want to say it... “He’s gonna call the cops.”

“What the hell happened?” There was still no emotion in Banner’s voice.

“I knew he knew something was up. He tried to act like he was there for me and shit.” Aubrey shrugged. “He accused my dad of molesting me, they fought, we told him the truth, he left.”

“They fought? Like they had a fist fight in your house? How did I miss this?”

Aubrey sighed. “You’re missing the point, Banner. He won’t accept it. Even after hearing that it was consensual.”

Banner paused again. Just breathing came through the line.

“I know where my dad keeps his guns. Just tell me where he lives.”

“You can’t kill him.”

“First I’ll fuck him. He’s too hot for me to just shoot him.”

Aubrey pressed his fingers into his eyes. “Banner, you can’t force yourself on him.”

“He’d be willing with a fucking gun to his head.”

Aubrey sighed again. “Banner, this is serious.”

“What makes you think I’m not serious?”

“If I didn’t have my dad’s imprisonment hanging over my head I’d be really concerned about that statement.”

“Has he already called them?”

“I don’t know,” he whispered. He felt so powerless to stop it. He hated feeling like his life was about to spirl out of control and he couldn’t even hold onto the one thing he loved most.

“You have to run.”


“You and your dad. You have to make a run for it.”

Aubrey’s head started pounding. God, talking to Banner was exhausting.

“My dad would never agree to that. And even if he did, where would we go? My mom would never stop looking for me. We’d constantly be looking over our shoulders. And when we were caught my dad would have even more charges piled against him.”

“Where’s Remy live?”

I thumped my head against the table top. “Not this again,” I muttered.

“To talk.”

“I don’t think sending you to talk would be the best idea.”

“We’ll go together.”

Aubrey didn’t think he could see Remy again.

“I don’t even know where he lives. I doubt my dad does either. It’s not like they hung out a lot.”

They were quiet for a few minutes.

“It’s just so fucked, you know? It’s like he waited for my dad to walk out of the room and then he pounced.” Aubrey shook his head. “My dad let him come over and Remy just wanted to try and save me”.

“He thought he was helping.”

Aubrey snorted. “More like destroying our lives.”

“And that’s what you need to tell him.”

“We tried.”

“I can still get the gun.”

Aubrey couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped. “You’re crazy, you know that?”

“I do.”

Aubrey bit his lip as he looked around the dark kitchen. “I just don’t want to lose him.”

“I know.” When Banner said those two words it sounded like he really meant them. They weren’t flat or empty words.

“I don’t know what to do.” He felt his throat close.

“I wish I knew what to do.”

“I just...” Aubrey wasn’t even sure why he’d called. “I don’t know,” he sighed.

“You needed someone. I get it.”

And Aubrey thought he really did.

“Why don’t you try calling him?”

“I’d thought of that, but I don’t want to make it worse.”

“Do you really think it could get any worse?”

“I guess not.”

Aubrey heard a vehicle pull up outside. His heart dropped. He spun his wide eyes outside. Red and blue lights blinked in the dark.

“Oh my god.”


“Oh shit. Oh no. Oh fuck.”

“Aubrey, what the hell is it?”

“The police are here.”


Sterling rolled over onto a mattress. Not his son. He blinked his eyes open. The bed was empty.


The room was empty too and the bathroom was dark. Which meant he had to be downstairs.

He sat up and that’s when he noticed the flashing lights outside.


He jumped to his feet and threw open his door. Naked, he pounded down the stairs.

Aubrey was sitting at the table. His phone was pressed against his ear and his gaze was riveted out the window.

“Aubrey?” Sterling panted.

Aubrey turned his head. His big eyes were so fucking scared.

“The police.” His voice came out cracked.

Sterling nodded. “I saw,” he said quietly.

They stared at each other, neither one moving. The security lights outside cast a shadowy pall over everything. Half of Aubrey’s face was lit and the other half was dark.

“We should get dressed.” Sterling couldn’t think beyond that. He was the adult, he had to remain calm.

Aubrey still just stared at him.

“No,” he finally said.

Sterling thought he was talking to him, until his gaze lowered and he said, “Don’t come over.”

The lights were still flashing outside, but no one had come through the gate yet. Sterling wondered what they were waiting for.

“I have to go,” Aubrey said as he looked at Sterling. “Yeah, I’ll call you if anything.”

Once Aubrey hung up and laid the phone on the table, Sterling said, “Banner?”

Aubrey swallowed. “Yeah.”

“Come on,” he said gently, holding his hand out for Aubrey.

Unsteadily, his son rose to his feet. He glanced once more out the sliding glass doors then shuffled over to him. He took his hand and Sterling immediately pulled him into his body.

“It’ll be okay,” he whispered into his boy’s hair.

They both knew it wouldn’t be, but saying the words seemed like the right thing.

Aubrey shivered in his arms.

“Let’s go get dressed.”

“No,” Aubrey said as he looked up at him. “Lay with me again.”

Sterling glanced out the window, then back to Aubrey.


He didn’t know what the police were doing, he didn’t know why they were here, but he wasn’t going to go outside to find out. Holding his son sounded much better.

Aubrey didn’t pull away from his side. They walked slowly up the stairs, both of Aubrey’s arms wrapped around his waist and Sterling’s around his shoulders. They stumbled a bit and Sterling put a hand on the wall to steady them.

In his bedroom, red and blue lights were flashing silently along the bed and walls.

Sterling stopped in the middle of the room. He turned Aubrey to face him.

“I know I didn’t want this, because I thought it was wrong, and I didn’t want to fuck up,” he said. “But I want you to know that I don’t think it’s wrong anymore.” He swallowed and held his son’s face in his hands. “You are the reason I get up in the morning, and no matter what happens, I’ll always love you.”

Tears glistened in Aubrey’s eyes. He wrapped his fingers around his wrists, one by one.

“I’ll always love you too.”

Sterling leaned closer, staring into Aubrey’s bright eyes. He kissed him, softly. They held their lips together, not moving, just absorbing the pleasure of being together. Of being close. Their cocks were soft, because this wasn’t about sex. It wasn’t about getting off. This was about love. Closeness. Being together.

The creak of the gate broke them apart.

Aubrey stared wildly into his eyes. His fingernails dig into his wrists.

Sterling felt his own heart freeze and drop into his stomach.

This is it.

A knock echoed through the house, loud in the quiet.

“Don’t go,” Aubrey said. He sounded so fucking scared.

“Wait here.”

He shook his head.

“Wait. Here.” He stared at his boy, telling him with his eyes that he wouldn’t allow him to go downstairs.

Aubrey looked like he wanted to argue, but he bit his lip and nodded once.

The knock came again.

Sterling pulled away from his son and threw on some shorts and a t-shirt. He didn’t glance back at Aubrey as he went down the stairs. He couldn’t.

He didn’t want them knocking again. That fucking sound was like a goddamn gavel sentencing him to a lifetime of separation from his son.

He didn’t hesitate. He yanked the door open.

“Good evening, Sir,” said a middle aged cop. He looked at Sterling gravely. “I apologize for bothering you at this time of the night...”

Sterling felt his stomach churn. He hoped he didn’t puke all over this cop.

“...but there was an incident in the townhouse right across from yours...”


“...number 2A. Did you happen to hear anything? Or see anything?”

Hear...? See...?

Sterling’s brain couldn’t catch up. The police officer wasn’t here for him?

“Sir?” The officer looked a little concerned, but mostly bored.

Sterling cleared his throat. “Uh, no. I was sleeping.”

The officer nodded. “Okay. Thank you.” He turned around. “Have a good night.” He said over his shoulder.

Sterling stood there, watching the cop open and close the gate, then head across the street. He heard the footsteps, the crackling of the police radios, and the distant voices of people.

They weren’t here for him.

He stood like a fucking crazy ass person in that fucking open door. The night was a little chilly. It blew over his heated skin and ruffled his hair. None of it felt real.

Was he dreaming?

“Dad?” Came Aubrey’s soft and uncertain voice from behind him.

“It wasn’t for me.”

“What?” Aubrey sounded just as surprised, and relieved, as he felt.

Sterling turned around and stepped inside. The door slammed shut behind him.

“Something happened at 2A. He wanted to know if I heard or saw anything.”

Aubrey was standing on the last step, his face in shadows. He was still naked.

“They didn’t...” his voice broke.

Sterling shook his head.

His boy ran the few feet into his arms. He picked him up; Aubrey wrapped his legs around his waist.

They clung to each other, arms tight and faces buried in their necks.

Sterling felt like he’d dodged a fucking bullet.

What if Remy just hadn’t called them yet?

He didn’t want to think about that possibility now. Right now, he wanted to hold his boy.


Aubrey breathed in his dad. His heart was still beating hard. He felt relieved. He felt exhausted. He felt happy.

“Let’s go upstairs.”

Aubrey nodded, but didn’t let go of him. He felt his dad moving, walking slowly up the stairs and into the room. He felt him lay them on the bed, but he still didn’t let him go.

They laid on their sides, limbs tangled around each other and faces pressed into their necks. Aubrey’s leg stared to go numb under his dad’s body, but he still don’t move. The curve of their necks became damp with sweat, yet they didn’t move.

The blinking red and blue lights outside eventually left, and only the moon and security lamps shone in the darkness.

Aubrey didn’t let go of his dad until their alarm went off a few hours later.


“You didn’t call me,” Banner said.

Aubrey nearly walked right into him as he entered Brighton Christian School.

“I didn’t need to.”

His head felt like someone was pounding it with a hammer and his limbs were heavy. When the hell was that ibuprofen going to kick in?

“What does that mean?” Banner fell into step with him as they walked through the tan corridor and turned left into the hallway. The lights overhead made Aubrey squint. Had the blue carpet always been that bright?


“It wasn’t for us,” he mumbled.

“The cops weren’t there for you?” Banner said quietly.

“Someone else.” Aubrey didn’t feel like explaining it. He just wanted to pretend the whole damn thing never happened.

Banner didn’t say anything else, he just walked with him until they came to the hallways that held their lockers. The other students were quickly unlocking their lockers and pulling stuff out. The bell was going to ring in a few minutes.

Aubrey squinted again at the locker. That red was too cheery and bright.

“You look hungover,” Banner said.


“I’d have one too after the shit from last night.”

“Hi Aubrey.”

Oh fuck me. He was not in the mood for Tiffany.

“Hi Tiff.”

He heard a girly gasp. “He gave you a nickname”.

Where the hell did Shannon come from?

“Does giving someone a nickname automatically make them like you?” Banner said.

“Banner, go suck a dick,” Shannon huffed.

Tiffany gasped. “Shannon!” She sounded mortified.

Aubrey leaned his forehead against the cool locker surface. That felt nice.

“If only you knew how true that is,” Banner drawled.

“What?” Tiffany sounded confused.

Shannon laughed. “Oh my god! No way! Please don’t tell me you’re a fag.”

“I’m sure you’d love to know.” Banner sounded bored.

“Shannon...” Tiffany whispered.

Christ, can they all just go away?

Aubrey wouldn’t give Tiffany a nickname if she wasn’t special,” Shannon insisted.


“My Uncle Earl calls me ‘Champ’, does that mean he wants to fuck me?”

The girls sounded outraged.

“You’re sick!” Shannon said too loud.

Okay. Aubrey needed to get the hell away from them. He spun around. “”C’mon.”

“Aubrey? Are you okay?” Tiffany asked.

He didn’t even look at her or stop. He just walked to bible class, Banner following close behind.

“I think Tiffany has issues letting go,” Banner said as they sat in the back of the class.

“I don’t care.” That was the last thing on his mind.

He wasn’t stupid, he knew Remy could still call the cops. He could still decide to report his dad for “molesting” his son. Which was such bullshit. His dad never touched him until just recently. And Aubrey was well past the age where he didn’t know what he was doing. There was no taking advantage of.

“Good morning, class,” Mrs. Hamilton said.

Why did this have to be the first class of the day?

“Are there any prayer requests?”

Aubrey kept his head his hands and eyes closed.



He slowly lifted his head. “Yeah?” Damn, why was everyone staring at him? And why the hell was Mrs. Hamilton scowling at him?

“Don’t you have a prayer request?”

He pinched his brows together. “Uh...” he glanced at Banner, who just shrugged.

That my dad won’t be arrested. He didn’t think he could say that.

That I’ll get a chance to be fucked by my dad before shit hits the fan. That definitely couldn’t be said.

That I’ll get to spend the rest of my life loving my dad as my everything. Nope.


Mrs. Hamilton scowled harder. Her wrinkled face made her look like Greta the gremlin. Which was creepy.

“Don’t you need to pray for your Aunt Sarah to make a speedily recovery and for your mother’s safety while she’s away?”

Aubrey’s eyes widened. How the hell did she know about those things?

“Your mother and I have been texting.”

Oh shit. That was so disturbing.

Some of the other students laughed quietly.

Banner just stared at him.

“Uh, yeah, sure.” Just stop looking at me.

Mrs. Hamilton’s flowery dress and pink lipstick didn’t go with her chilly personality. That woman could freeze the sun. Why did they have her teaching bible class?

She crossed her arms and walked the length of the front of the room. It was a very small classroom, so she looked like a caged animal pacing back and forth up there.

“I think we should also discuss acceptable language.”

“Here we go,” Banner muttered.

“I’ve heard some very, very disturbing things come out of the your mouths.” She stared pointedly at Banner, then Aubrey.

Really? He’d only said shit.

“Mr. Danner and I have been discussing this in great detail, and he feels the same way I do, that something needs to be done to save the souls of the youth nowadays.”

“For the love of god,” Banner murmured.

“He’s going to be speaking with the seniors today in their Bible class.”

“I’m sure they’re thrilled,” Becca said.

Mrs. Hamilton stopped pacing and stared at her. She was two seats in front of Aubrey.

“You, young lady should pay very close attention. You’re one office visit away from being expelled.”

“And I’m crying over that fact,” Becca mumbled.

The class snickered. Aubrey didn’t have the energy to do anything but watch.

“Becca! You will cease your obnoxious behavior at once.”

Why the hell did his mom have him in this school again?

She began pacing again. “Now, before I continue, are there any other prayer requests?”

Tiffany raised her hand. She was sitting in the front.

Mrs. Hamilton softened as she looked at her. “Yes, Tiffany?”

“My little brother has a cold.”

“Oh my sweet girl, that must be terrible.”

“It’s just a cold,” Banner said under his breath.

Aubrey couldn’t help the smile.

“He’s really miserable,” Tiffany said sadly.

Christ, had he really liked her at one point?

“I’m sure, my dear,” Mrs Hamilton cooed.

“Teacher’s pet,” someone coughed near the front.

The class laughed. Except for Banner and Aubrey.

Tiffany turned hurt eyes on Shannon.

“What? It was funny.” Shannon shrugged.

“Enough!” Mrs. Hamilton clapped her hands. “I will not tolerate bullying in my classroom.”

She stared her pacing again.

Jesus Christ. It was going to be a long day.


Sterling had trouble focusing all day. Travis was going on and on about his fucking girlfriend and Curly kept telling jokes. But he didn’t seem to notice that he was the only one laughing at them.

“How’s your boy?”

Sterling glared at Pike. “Not now.” He was two seconds away from exploding.

“I was just asking how he was.” Pike lifted his hands like he was a fucking innocent bastard that was just inquiring about someone’s welfare. Like hell he was.

“Get lost.”

“You don’t have to be rude,” Pike muttered.

Like hell he didn’t have to be rude. Pike was a goddamn sick fuck.

Sterling hated not knowing what was happening. Last night had fucked with his head. He’d thought his life was over. He hated this waiting around shit. He’d already taken his phone out three times, but each time he stopped.

He’d call Remy...and then what? With the mood he was in he’d only make things worse. And he couldn’t do that to Aubrey.

So he fucking waited.


Nothing happened Monday. Or Tuesday. By Wednesday, Aubrey thought he was going to need to be hospitalized for a heart attack at sixteen.

What the hell was Remy waiting for?

He and his dad had been on edge since Sunday night. They hardly slept, every little sound woke them, and they’d not done anything sexual. It was strange, because each night they showered together, washing each other’s bodies, then they fell into bed naked. They woke up hard, but didn’t touch themselves or each other.

All they did was hold one another close and wait.

Aubrey hated it.

Banner hadn’t asked after Monday what was going on. All he had to do was look at Aubrey’s face every morning and he could tell.

Aubrey finished his homework and put it in his backpack. It was after six, so he knew his dad would be home soon. He’d had to work longer today for some reason, Aubrey didn’t remember why.

His cell started ringing. He looked at the screen and saw it was his mom. He groaned. He couldn’t today. Each day she’d called, wanting to know how he was, and what he wanted for his birthday. Hell, he couldn’t even think about his birthday.

He sent it to voicemail. He couldn’t pretend to be okay right now.

He made sure the door was locked, then he trudged up the stairs.

He stopped in the doorway of his room and looked around. The blue comforter was still in place on the full size bed. Aubrey didn’t even know when he’d made it, because it was so long ago that he’d slept in there. The walls were covered with posters of different bands, most he didn’t even listen to anymore. The small shelf had books he’d not read since he was twelve and action figures he’d not played with since he was ten. Everything looked normal, but nothing was normal. He felt like he was staring at a stranger’s room.

Would he have to sleep in here again? If Remy reported them to the police what would happen to this place?

Aubrey turned away, he didn’t want to look at it anymore.

He went into his dad’s bedroom and then into the bathroom. He didn’t look at himself in the long mirror. He knew he looked like shit.

He took his clothes off and started the shower. This bathroom didn’t have a tub, just a large shower. But he’d thought about having a big tub, one that could fit both of them. He and his dad would sit, skin to skin, in the warm water. They’d rub their hands all over each other and their cocks would grow hard. They’d make out until water splashed over the sides and they couldn’t breath.

Aubrey opened the door and stepped under the hot spray. It scalded his skin, but he didn’t change the temperature. It helped to distract him, to take his mind off the big question mark hanging in the air.

He closed his eyes and held his head under the water.

He wanted to rewind time, go back to that day in the living room; the day Remy saw them.

He wanted to run, take his dad, and run far away.

There weren’t words to describe the shitstorm that would happen if their relationship came out. His mom would freak and probably shove him into counseling at the church. The police would want to question him and send in a child psychologist or some shit.

He wiped the water from his face. Christ, he couldn’t seem to get his mind away from it.

He grabbed the soap and washcloth.

“It’s like a fucking sauna in here.”

Aubrey jerked his head around. His dad stood on the other side of the foggy glass door, naked.

He watched him slide open the door and step inside the shower.

“Fuck, that’s hot,” he said as he put his hand under the spray. “Aubrey, baby, you’re going to hurt your skin.”

Aubrey pressed himself against the shower wall as his dad adjusted the temperature.

He’d taken to calling him “baby” lately, and Aubrey kinda loved it. It was something special between them, something no one had the privilege of hearing.

“That’s better,” his dad said. “C’mon.” He stepped under the water and pulled Aubrey into his arms.

“Now it’s cold,” Aubrey said into his chest.

“It’s not cold. You’re just used to that fucking hot temperature.”

His dad wrapped him tightly in his arms. Aubrey squeezed his waist once.

“How was your day?” His dad asked as he kissed his head.

“Like shit.”

“Yeah,” he said quietly. “Mine too.”

They didn’t say anything else, just stood under the spray in each other’s arms.

Aubrey kissed the place right between his pecs. “Let me wash you.”

He took the washcloth and poured soap on it. He rubbed it along his dad’s shoulders. He stepped a little out of the water so Aubrey could wash his body.

He scrubbed his arms, his chest, each ripple of his stomach and across the v-shape on his hipbones. His dad lifted his arms and Aubrey scrubbed each armpit until the trimmed hair was full of bubbles. He got more soap on the washcloth, then lowered to his knees. His dad spread his legs a little. Aubrey kissed the tip of his half hard cock and then ran the cloth around it, through the short pubic hair and over his sac. His dad groaned softly when he brushed across the area just behind his balls. He gently pushed down the foreskin and, using his hand, washed the exposed area with soap.

He washed down his inner thighs, around to the front, then over his knees and shins. His dad lifted his foot, one at a time, so Aubrey could wash each toe and the bottom.

He stood up. His dad stared at him with dark eyes. Lust and love were swimming together in those depths, and Aubrey couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.

“Turn around,” Aubrey whispered.

He turned in the spray, backing up slightly, so his back wasn’t in the downpour.

Aubrey loved his dad’s back muscles. The wide, firm shoulder blades, the slight ripples that went down the sides of the spine.

He washed it slowly, his eyes following each movement of his hands. The white soap left bubbly trails.

He lowered to his knees again. This time his dad’s ass was eye level. It was firm and hairless. He knew his dad didn’t have much body hair, it was a genetic trait he shared with him.

And he loved it. The smooth hard skin felt like damn heaven under his hands.

He washed each cheek, then spread them to wash between. His dad reached back and held his ass open for him. They’d done this every night since Sunday, and Aubrey still couldn’t get over the dark brown pucker. It was an asshole, yet it was beautiful. His cock hardened at the sight, just like it did every time.

He was gentle as he used the cloth to wash the most intimate area of his dad.

He wanted to lick it clean, to suck every drop of water off the wrinkly flesh. But they didn’t touch each other that way. He knew his dad wanted it to, but they couldn’t seem to be sexual when the unknown was hanging over their heads.

Would he or wouldn’t he?

His dad turned around and pulled him to his feet.

Without words, his dad took the cloth from his hand and rinsed it. Aubrey watched the suds run down the drain.

Once his body and the cloth were clean, his dad did the same thing to him. Washed him, slowly, from head to toe.

When he was down on his knees, washing his ass, Aubrey panted. He wanted his dad to tongue his hole again. He wanted those lips to kiss him there.

His cock hardened. He felt the slight ache in his balls.

He hadn’t even masturbated since everything happened.

His eyes were closed. His hands were holding his ass cheeks open. He felt every brush of the cloth. He savored each brush of his dad’s fingers on his skin.

He didn’t want it to stop, but too soon, his dad was standing. The water was turned off and he was turned around.

His dad enfolded him in his arms.

“I love you.”

Aubrey nuzzled his face into the wet skin of his chest. “I love you too.”


After they’d dried themselves off, they ordered dinner. Chinese that neither one of them wanted, but they ate because they knew they had to.

They didn’t watch TV, they just sat at the table eating in silence. It was the worse kind of tension. Not because they weren’t comfortable with each other, but because they were waiting.

Aubrey hated it and just wished everything could go back to normal.

They threw the empty cartons in the trash. They brushed their teeth. They took their clothes off, and they laid in bed. Aubrey was on top of his body, his dad’s arms wrapped tightly around his waist.

They fell asleep.


There was banging on the door.

What the fuck?

Sterling blinked his eyes open. There it was again.

What time was it?

Aubrey stirred on top of him.

“What’s that nosie?” His son said sleepily.

“The door.”

Aubrey perked right up. “What?”

Sterling grabbed his phone from the nightstand.


“Wait here,” he said as he grabbed shorts from his dresser.

“No, I’m coming with you.”

“No, you’re not.” He turned around and yanked on his shirt. “Stay in bed.”

He didn’t wait to see if Aubrey listened.

The banging started up again.

He rushed down the stairs. Whoever the fuck was at the door better have a good reason for waking them.

He pulled the door open. He froze when he saw Remy standing there.

He was wearing black sweat pants and a green t-shirt. His hair was a mess, like he’d run his fingers through it too many times. He had dark circles under his eyes. And he needed to shave.

“Can I come in?” He sounded like shit.

Sterling didn’t know what to say now that he was face to face with him. He stepped back.

Remy practically dragged his feet through the doorway.


He knew his boy wouldn’t stay put in the room. He heard light thumps on the stairs, then Aubrey was standing on the last step. His eyes fell on Remy and widened.

Sterling was standing by the closed door, Remy was in between the stairs and living room, and Aubrey hadn’t moved from the bottom step.

They all just stared at each other.

Finally Remy said, “I think we should take a seat.”

Sterling wanted to tell him to fuck off. He wanted to yell at him for being a prick and keeping him and his son on fucking eggs shells. He didn’t want to “take a seat”. He wanted to kick him out.

Aubrey glanced at him.

Sterling knew he’d say nothing to Remy. He needed to stay fucking calm for Aubrey.

He nodded at his son, then extended his hand. Aubrey gratefully rushed to him. He gripped his hand tightly.

Remy took a seat in that fucking chair again, and Aubrey and he sat on the couch. The stove light was on in the kitchen, so only faint light filled the living room.

They sat close, legs pressed together and arms brushing.

Remy scrubbed his hands down his face.

“I’ve been thinking about this nonstop since I left Sunday.”

Sterling didn’t give a fuck. They’d been agonizing over this shit.

“I don’t...” he paused and looked at their joined hands. “I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make sense to me.” He waved a hand at their close bodies. “It’s supposed to be wrong.” He growled and leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees.

“I’m supposed to report child abuse to the authorities.”

Sterling gritted his teeth. That fucking word — abuse. How fucking dare he say shit like that? He could never abuse his Aubrey.

Remy hung his head.

Aubrey was still next to him. The room was so fucking quiet. Not even the outside noises seemed to penetrate it.

Remy lifted his head and stared right Sterling. “But I can’t do it.”

“Do what?” Sterling was barely holding onto his self-control.

“Report you.”

Aubrey made a sound, it was half sigh and half fucking whimper.

Sterling wanted to hold him in his arms. He wanted to tell Remy he could go fuck himself. He wanted to tell him he didn’t give a flying fuck what Remy thought about them.

But he sat there, silently, listening to the man say whatever the hell he wanted.

“I still don’t get it.” He pressed his forefinger and thumb into his eyes.

“You’re not supposed to...” he waved a hand and looked away. “Do that, when you’re you’re related.”

Goddamn, the man seemed so incredibly uncomfortable. Too fucking bad Sterling didn’t give a motherfuckin’ damn.

“I’m not a bad person.”

Sterling didn’t care whether he killed puppies in his free time, he just wanted him to keep his mouth shut about them.

“I don’t know why I’m doing this, other than...” he paused and looked at Aubrey. “You.”

Aubrey scrunched his nose.

Goddamn, it’s been too many days without that fucking scrunched nose. Sterling wanted to kiss it.


Remy nodded. “You seemed, seem, happy.” He laced his fingers together and looked away. “And that kind of happiness, the kind you have...well, I can’t seem to convince myself to ruin that.” He glanced at Sterling then back to Aubrey. “And I think your dad is the reason for that happiness.”

Aubrey swallowed. “He is,” he whispered.

Sterling squeezed his hand.

“I won’t be the cause of taking him away then.”

Sterling didn’t know what to say now. He felt like he was fucking dreaming. He wanted this to be real, but...was it?

“You couldn’t have told us this sooner?”


“We’ve been going out of our minds the last three days while you sat around on your ass trying to decide what the hell to do with someone else’s life.”

“Dad,” Aubrey hissed.

Remy glared at him. “I wasn’t sitting around on my ass for three fucking days. Sterling, can you try not to be prick for a minute?”

Aubrey shot a glare at Remy before turning to Sterling. “Hey, just forget about it, okay?”

Sterling took a deep breath. He was relieved, confused, and tired as hell.

Remy stood. “I still don’t know if I’m making the right call here, but...” he glanced at each of them, then away. “I hope everything works out.”

Then he walked out. The door slammed. The gate creaked. A car started.

“He didn’t tell,” Aubrey said quietly.

Sterling could hardly believe it.

Aubrey turned a wide smile to him. “He won’t say anything,” he said, excitement and relief in his voice.

Sterling pulled him into his chest, practically squeezing the life out of his boy. He kissed his head and breathed him in.

And he was so fucking thankful that he could still do that.


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