A New Normal (A New Dream Book 3)

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Chapter Twenty

It’s the next day and Angel is feeling better. Her fever is gone and she is waiting with her father and her uncles for her aunt and baby cousin to get home from the hospital. She’s laying in her carriage napping as the adults set up decorations and unpack food that they bought from the store just moments before. Keely wanted everything to be perfect for her best friend and god son’s homecoming. All of their family was there. Not their blood family, but the family they created. The boys in the band in addition to Jason and Rick. Jason has promised to introduce them to the man he’s been spending so much time with as of late. Steve. He’s excited for him to meet the people who love him no matter what and accept him for who he is. Even if his biological family didn’t.

“Make sure that sign is straight. If it’s crooked and Keel notices, she’s gonna have my ass.” Roger called out as Rick and Nathan are putting up the Welcome Home sign.

“Dude, we got it. Why don’t you go make sure Jason and them aren’t making a mess in the kitchen. Keel will really flip if there are dishes in the sink when she gets here.” Rick laughed looking over at him.

“Do you remember when she was coming over to take care of me? Shit, she would flip out every day if she had to do dishes as soon as she walked in.” he laughed remembering when she saved his life.

“That’s when I learned to always keep the sink empty. The last thing I wanted was for that little woman to kick my ass. I never would have heard the end of it from you two.” Rick laughed.

“Thanks, guys.” Roger smiled going into the kitchen. “How are things going here?” Roger asked looking over at Jason.

“We’re good. Seth is making the dip and I just about got the cold cut platter put together. Steve is gonna be here any minute with the rolls and the bread and then we’ll be all set. Don’t worry. We’ll be ready when they get here.” Jason smiled over at him.

“You made sure to tell him to get wheat bread, right?” he asked, knowing that Keely prefers wheat bread.

“Of course. Do I look like I’m trying to get my head bit off.” Jason laughed, looking over at him.

“The shit we do for these ladies, huh?” Roger smiled at him, reaching into the refrigerator for a bottle of water.

“I’ll do anything for these girl.” Jason smiled at him as the doorbell rang.

“I know, man. That should be Steve. Do you wanna get that?” he smiled at his best friend.

“Yeah, that might be a good idea.” Jason smiled, nervously going to the door to answer it. Steve was the first man he really dated and he was about to introduce him to his family. People who started off as strangers, but due to their experiences together and their acceptance of him, had become closer than family. They were his lifeline. They saved his life on more than one occasion and wanted nothing in return, but for him to be happy.

He took a deep breath before opening the apartment door. He smiled at the sight of this wonderful man. “Hi, honey.” Steve smiled at him as Jason wore a similar smile.

“Hey. Come on in. I want you to meet everyone.” he smiled, holding his hand out to him. As the men linked fingers, Steve closed the door gently behind him.

“Hey, Steve. It’s great to meet you. I’m Roger.” Roger smiled, holding his hand out to shake the newcomers hand.

“I’ve heard a lot about you and your wife. Jason thinks very highly of both of you.” Steve smiled, shaking Roger’s hand.

“We think very highly of him too. Even though I do sometimes have to compete with him for my wife’s affection.” he laughed as Jason looked up at him.

“From what Jason says, she saved his life. I have a feeling I’m gonna be added to that list.” Steve laughed looking up at him.

“He’s a keeper.” Roger smiled, patting Jason on the back. “Come on, guys. This place isn’t gonna get itself together. Keel is gonna kick all of our asses if we slack off.” he called out to the rest of the guys.

“She may be little, but she’ll do it. We’re all pretty scared of that little lady.” Jason laughed looking over to Steve.

“You’re all lucky to have her.” Steve smiled as Jason led him around the room to introduce him to the band as well as Rick.

“Great to meet you, Steve. Now that we know you, I hope you’ll be coming around the apartment so we can hang out.” Rick smiled at him.

“I hope so too. Jason has a lot of respect for all of you. It isn’t easy being different, but it helps to have friends who accept you, not only in spite of those differences, but because of them.” Steve smiled.

“It wasn’t difficult. He accepts us, so it was easy to accept him.” he smiled before getting back to work.

“Yo, Jay. Do you plan on finishing that platter? Just because you’re her favorite, it doesn’t mean that Keel isn’t gonna kick your ass along with the rest of us.” Nate called out from the other side of the room.

“I’m going.” Jason laughed bringing Steve into the kitchen with him. “He’s right. She’s obsessive to a fault.”

“You’re her favorite, huh?” Steve teased him, flirtingly.

“At times, more than even Roger.” Jason laughed.

“What a coincidence. You’re my favorite too.” Steve smiled, leaning in to kiss his boyfriend for the first time since entering the apartment.

“Maybe we should…” Jason started, a little uncomfortable.

“Are you embarrassed in front of your friends?” Steve asked caressing his cheek.

“Of course not. I just don’t want you to start something we can’t finish. Keely really will kick my ass if this isn’t finished by the time they get home with Wendy and the baby.” Jason laughed looking into his light brown eyes.

“Oh, right. Why don’t I help you? I wouldn’t want to be blamed for distracting you, the first time I meet the Queen.” Steve laughed slowly backing away from Jason to help him with the platters.

“She’s not so much the Queen, as she is the mama. She’s taken care of all of us in one way or another.” Jason explained.

“I’ll always be grateful to her for what she did for you. Had she not found you that day, I don’t know if you’d be here today.” Steve looked up at him.

“I don’t know if I would be either. That sweet, beautiful little lady wrapped her tiny little arms around me and loved me for who I was. Who I really was. She was the first person to really ever do that for me. Love me, knowing full well who I really was. She kissed my head as gently as she kisses her own daughter’s head and loved me. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that woman. I… I can’t wait for you to meet her.” Jason smiled slyly before finishing up.

“They’re here.” Roger called out from the window as he watched Oliver park the car across the street from the building.

“Showtime. You get to meet both of my girls.” Jason smiled grasping Steve’s hand in his.

“I can’t wait.” he smiled following him.

“Guys, can we give them some room?” Nathan called out as the men crowded around the door.

“We’re just excited to see Wend and our new little bundle of joy.” Jason called out looking over at him.

“Like we’re all not supposed to know that you visited them more than Oliver did when they were in there, right?” Roger laughed, holding his daughter.

“Someone had to fill her in on what you clowns were up to.” he laughed as the door opened. Keely was on the other side.

“OK, boys. Make a hole. Let mommy and baby get in here.” she called out spreading her dainty little arms out doing crowd control.

“Keel, can you give them a break? They’re excited.” Wendy told her, holding her son in her arms.

“He’s a good looking kid, Ol. Are you sure he’s yours?” Seth called out looking over everyone’s head.

“I wonder that myself. But hopefully it’s only because he takes after his mother.” Oliver laughed looking down at his son.

“You’re not getting off that easily, O’Reilly. I’m gonna put him in his room to sleep. I’ll be right out.” Wendy looked over at everyone as she and Oliver put their son in the nursery.

“Is that who I think it is?” Keely asked leaning up to kiss Roger and her daughter.

“Why don’t you go over there and find out?” he smiled rubbing his daughter’s back.

“I’m scared.” she told him quietly.

“Why are you scared, Keel?” he asked confused.

“What if I don’t like him? I want Jason to be happy, but I don’t want him to date just any guy. He deserves the best.” she told him.

“He has the best. You. This guy is a definite close second. I promise. You’ll like him. Now go.” he smiled, giving her a gentle nudge.

“Hi, you must be Steve. It’s great to finally meet you.” Keely smiled looking up at the new man in her brother’s life.

“Keely, you have no idea how honored I am to finally meet you.” he smiled, leaning in to hug the small woman. He held back tears as she hugged him back.

“Oh honey, it’s OK.” she reassured him, feeling his emotions.

“You’re right. She… she does have a way about her.” Steve smiled, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“What… what does that mean?” she asked curiously.

“I was telling him all about you and everything you did for me.” Jason smiled at her.

“The whole dainty arms, acceptance story?” she laughed looking up at him.

“Screw you, it was a huge deal for me.” Jason laughed looking down at her.

“I’m sorry, you’re right. It was a magical moment for both of us. Our hearts linked…” she explained as Jason wrapped his arms around her to tickle her. “Jason, stop.”

“Fine. I’m never gonna say anything nice about you again, woman. How would that suit you?” he laughed as she squirmed in his arms.

“Roger, help.” she called out as everyone looked on.

“Forget it. I’ll be next and he knows my spots almost as well as you do.” he called out playing with Angel on the couch.

“You guys are weird. I love it.” Steve laughed watching them.

“Who are you calling weird? You know all about us and you choose to date him anyway.” Keely laughed as Jason kissed her head.

“Touche`.” Steve laughed looking over at the woman who means so much to his boyfriend and obviously the rest of this big, huge crazy family.

“I love you, Baby girl. Never forget that.” he whispered in her ear.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart. I won’t.” she smiled before directing her attention to Steve.

“This is our family.” Wendy smiled standing with Oliver in the doorway of the nursery.

“Not bad, huh?” he smiled, putting his arms around her.

“Nope. Not bad at all.” she smiled leaning up to kiss him before joining everyone.

“OK, let’s get some drinks. We have some celebrating to do.” Oliver smiled as Roger gave Angel to Jason and went into the kitchen with Oliver to get the champagne and sparkling cider.

“Dude, you’re a mom.” Keely teased Wendy.

“So are you. And you’re gonna be an international rock star.” Wendy laughed putting her arm around her best friend.

“You’ve been talking to Roger, haven’t you?” she asked.

“Nope. Nate. He can’t wait to win a Grammy with you.” she laughed.

“He really needs to stop letting Roger dazzle him. That husband of mine can sell ice to an eskimo.” she folded her arms across her chest.

“From what I heard. That song is sure to bring you every award available.”

“How did you hear it?” she asked surprised.

“Are you kidding? Did you really think being laid up in the hospital was gonna keep me out of the loop?” she laughed looking over at her.

“You were only in there for 3 days.” Keely laughed.

“A lot happened in those 3 days.” Wendy answered.

“What did you think? And be honest.” she asked, nervous.

“I know I give Roger a lot of shit, but he’s an amazingly talented songwriter. That song was written for you and Nate and you guys nailed it. It’s by far, my favorite song of yours.” she smiled at her.

“Thanks. He… he does have a way, doesn’t he?” she smiled, watching him hand out cups of champagne.

“With a lot of things.” she smiled back as he approached them, handing them smaller cups than anyone else had.

“What are you drinking?” Keely asked looking up at him.

“Sparkling cider. Just like you and Wend.” he smiled leaning down to kiss her.

“You can have champagne if you want. I won’t mind.” she looked up at him.

“Nope. I’m intoxicated enough by your beauty and your love.” he kissed her head.

“See what I mean.” Wendy whispered in Keely’s ear.

“I hate when he does that.” she whispered back.

“I want to say a couple of things, if you guys don’t mind.” Oliver announced looking at everyone in the room.

“Don’t say too much. This family depends on you to save it for your songwriting.” Wendy teased him as she approached him.

“Don’t worry, Baby. I just want to thank you and everyone in this room for everything I have. A great woman, who I don’t deserve on most days. An amazing son, who is the center of this family along with that little Angel over there. Keely, who kicks mine and everyone else’s ass whenever we need, to keep us in line and make sure we succeed. And all of you guys who are my brothers in arms. On and off that stage. This family is a family because of all of you and I wouldn’t have half of what I have if it wasn’t for all of you hanging in there with me and being the best brothers a guys could ask for.” he lifted his glass to toast the whole room.

“Well put, brother.” Roger called out raising his glass with everyone else.

“We really do have it all, don’t we?” Keely asked looking up at him.

“None of it would exist if it wasn’t for you.” he leaned down to kiss her.

“Right back at you, big guy.” she giggled wrapping her arm around him and kissing him back.

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