Dreamy Dylan

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#5 Evil prince Aston

Kian carries Steffi’s cake for me, and I take the small box for Annabel. Before we can even ring the doorbell, Aston already opens it. He has his daughter on his shoulders and his son in his arms, grinning at us wickedly.

“I’m so glad you’re here, and not just because you brought cake.” He hands me 2-year-old Benji. “The kids have been asking for you non-stop. I hope you are ready to play horsey with them all damn day.”

“I will,” I promise Benji and Steffi. “But first me and my boyfriend need to take the cake to the kitchen.”

“My cake!” Steffi cheers. “Cake! I’ve got my own cake!”

Aston walks with us to the back of the house, and I shout greetings at all of his friends, a lot of them being mine as well. Some of them I only see at parties, but others I see almost daily, like Thomas and Tracy. Annabel is in the kitchen, filling bowls with chips and refilling glasses. Kian puts down the cake right when she turns around, looking a little flushed.

“Oh thank God, the cake is here.” She hugs me tightly and then turns to Kian. “So nice to see you again, Kian.”

“Nice to see you outside of court,” he replies, stepping in for a hug. “I didn’t realize you were the Annabel Johnson when Dylan told me we were going to this birthday party.”

Of course they know each other. They’re both lawyers. I should have known. Speaking of lawyers…

“Congratulations on finishing law school.” I hand her the box from Piece of Cake bakery. “I know you said this is Steffi’s party and not a celebration for you, but I think you deserve a treat too. You’re a superwoman, and I think you should have people tell you that daily.”

She opens the box, smiling when she sees the law-themed and superhero-themed cookies. “Thank you. That’s very sweet.”

“Ooh, cookies!” Aston grabs one and stuffs it into his mouth.

Anna smacks his arm. “Neanderthal.”

“I’m proud of you too, baby.” He kisses the top of her head. “Superwoman indeed. I don’t know how you do it.”

“Can I help with those?” Kian asks, nodding at the glasses that need to be refilled.

“You really don’t need to-”

“I want to.” He joins her and starts handing out glasses of juice to kids running into the kitchen.

I press a kiss to his cheek before going into the backyard. I promised the kids to play horsey, after all.

The garden is full of kids of all ages. I don’t know all of them, but I recognize a bunch.

There are Christopher and Abby’s five kids: 18-year-old Jagger, 12-year-old Yoah, 8-year-old Davy, and 1-year-old Alana. Yoah is definitely gay, but the kid is too young to realize that yet. I wonder when he’ll start his journey to self-acceptance. He’s got amazing parents, though, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Of course, Nathan and Caroline Storm are in the grass as well, playing with their two kids: 3-year-old Daisy and 1-year-old Ash. They are hand-on parents for sure. Caroline’s best friend Shaughna is in the bouncy castle with some of the older kids. She and her boyfriend Dshawn don’t have kids yet, but I know she’ll make a fun mom one day.

Dshawn may not have kids yet, but he’s surrounded by them anyway. He’s got young siblings, and they all live right across the street from Aston and Annabel with Dshawn’s parents Asia and Tyrell. Just like Aston and Annabel, they have an age gap, with the woman being quite a lot older than the man. Annabel has become good friends with Asia since they moved here, bonding over having a younger husband and raising unruly kids.

Let’s see if I still remember all their names. The oldest one doesn’t seem to be around today – his name is Marky, I think. He’s 18 or something. Nia is 15, and I think Creed is one year younger. Then there’s Pierre, who is… well, hell if I know. 8? 9? I do know the youngest is Aliyah, and she’s 5. All her siblings are fussing over her, of course.

Then there’s Francesca and Joshua’s little bundle of joy, 2-year-old Zachary. He is already on my back with Benji, shouting for me to go faster. Zach’s little sister Maddison is only ten months old, sleeping in her father’s arms.

A loud girl who looks to be about 13 runs by, letting out a battle cry before jumping into the bouncy castle. That would be Rose Storm, Nathan’s oldest girl and Caroline’s stepdaughter. She’s crazy. I fucking love her.

“Hey honey, who are you?” I ask a cute 1-year-old playing on his own. He looks up at me with wide eyes, ready to start bawling.

“There you are,” a guy who I recognize as Aston’s half-brother Jaxon groans when he picks up his son. “Stop running off, you little hooligan.”

“A very cute hooligan,” I say.

“Thanks, his name is Theo.” Jaxon gives his son a kiss on the mouth, making the boy giggle.

“Uncle Dylan, play horsey!” Benji demands. “Now!”

“Duty calls,” I tell Jaxon before taking off again. I throw Benji and Zachary off my back so Steffi can get her turn. Alijah gets on as well, but they’re way too heavy together, so I roll onto my back in the grass, pulling them on top of me. “I can’t do it anymore,” I pant. “You wore me out.”

“He’s dead,” Steffi decides with a heavy sign. “Come on, Liyah. Let’s go eat cake.”

When I get up, I see Annabel grinning down at me, Kian by her side.

“Her name is Anna,” I sing at the top of my lungs. “The girl that stole my heart. That night in Venice, she was a brand new start. Her name is Anna, the girl that stole my heart. That night in Venice. She is a piece of art.”

She’s laughing. “Oh God, not you too. Aston sings that all the time.”

I sit up, grinning from ear to ear, still singing. “She has a smile for everyone. The best one is for me. She loves me more than I deserve. Incredible to see. This is why she is the only one. The best I’ll ever find.”

“Fuck yes!” Aston shouts when he steps into the yard. “My jam!”

We belt out together: “And I promise to behave this time. I gotta do it right. Her name is Anna, the girl that stole my heart!”

While we keep singing, Aston twirls his wife around, and the smile on her face is so big it’s got to hurt. I love their relationship. He’s a lot of fun, and she grounds him. It’s the way I think Kian and I could be. He’s calm like Anna, and I’m insane like Aston.

Kian helps me to my feet, smiling fondly at me. “You’re so cute,” he whispers, kissing my cheek.

“Guilty as charged.” I bat my lashes at him. “How are you liking my crazy friends?”

“They’re nice. I talked to Anna for a while, and then I met this guy named Christopher and I talked to him and Aston’s half-brother Jaxon for a bit. Everyone is very welcoming.”

Of course he talked to the most normal people here. Leave it to Kian to steer clear of all the crazies and hang with the doctor and the… well, whatever Jaxon does for a living. I have no idea. He’s in tech, I think? Still, Kian is making an effort. Chris and Jaxon are not technically my friends, just acquaintances, but it’s a start.

I take him over to Thomas and Tracy, who have only met Kian twice before. I put Alex in Kian’s lap, curious to see him with a kid. Thomas is rubbing Tracy’s back, and she looks very uncomfortable. She’s about ready to pop, 39 weeks pregnant with their next kid. They don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, and they don’t care either. They raise their kids gender neutral and even give them names that work for both girls and boys. The baby in her belly is called Teagan, no matter what the gender is.

Alex looks up at Kian. “No,” he decides, his lower lip trembling.

I laugh when he reaches for me, and I put him on my lap instead. “He can be a little shy.”

“You’re really good with kids,” Kian comments like that is a surprise to him.

Thomas barks out a laugh. “How long have you two been together again? Surely you’ve seen him play with kids before?”

Kian shakes his head. “We’re not around many.”

Again, Thomas laughs. “You would be if we ever actually tagged along when Dylan hangs out with his friends. The guy does nothing but play with Alex when he’s at our place, and he’s a big hit at birthday parties.”

Right on cue, Rose Storm shows up with Aliyah, Steffi, Davy and two kids I don’t know in tow.

“We need you in the bouncy castle,” Rose tells me. “The evil prince Aston has kidnapped princess Daisy, so we need to save her.”

“Of course.” I hand Alex back to Kian and rush after the kids, jumping into the castle to help save the toddler from the indeed very evil prince Aston.

When I get back covered in sweat half an hour later, wearing a tiara, Kian is playing with Alex, making silly faces at him. I knew he’d be good with kids. I just knew it. If I had ovaries, they would be rattling right now. Instead, my heart does a backflip. That’s my man. We’ll be okay. Our anger is gone by now, and he looks so cute like this, in jeans instead of a suit, a kid in his lap instead of his laptop.

Thomas seems to have warmed up to Kian as well, talking to him about Tracy’s pregnancy while his wife sits there with her eyes closed, rubbing her belly. I snuggle up to Kian, feeling happy as a clam. This is the life. I can get used to this.

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