The next morning Adam built his bed. He hung curtains in the living room and found the kitchen equipment: Crock pot, toaster oven, pots and pans, dishes, utensils, and coffee maker. Which he scattered over the kitchen counters. He told himself he put them in their respectable places once he cleans up downstairs. He showered and shaved, and on impulse, he glanced out his bathroom window, across, the alley to check if his fantasy from yesterday was there. But the bathroom was empty.
The day was half over when he ventured downstairs and opened his door to find people moving around his office. No one acknowledging him except for a friendly head nod and smile. His office been cleaned and wooden vertical blinds hung on his windows. The walls painted, and the hardwood floor surface shone when he peeked under the tarp closest to the corners. He passed people with brooms and paint brushes and smiles. He knew none of them. That is until he stepped into the hallway and encountered his parents.
Troy and Anton Potter, married for thirty-four years, raised four boys: Damien, age forty, Paul, age thirty-eight, Kyle, age thirty-four, and Adam the youngest at age thirty. They grew up on a farm, raising vegetables, livestock, and horses.
The farm decreed to Troy after his father’s passing. He met Anton during their college years while at a fantasy/steampunk event Troy and his friends hosted. Troy kidnapped Anton who was dressed as an elf which was part of the fantasy. They fell in love and Troy invited Anton to stay at the farm the following summer. When Anton was studying abroad, they exchanged letters. The two found that they both loved adventures, live theater, fantasy reenactments, and longed to have children of their own. Troy purchased a town not far from the farm to hold their events twice a year.
After graduation, Anton returned to Troy’s farm, where they married in late June. Their wedding was a reenactment of the where Anton and Troy first met in the town they now owned. Even their guest and wedding party came as their chosen fictional character of fantasy/steampunk. Anton became a self-published writer of fantasy and a mother or four active boys.
Anton, who appeared ageless, still held his soft innocence despite being in his early sixties. He turned, holding couch pillows he found at a nearby store, out to Troy, his clueless husband, then caught sight of Adam.
“There’s my baby,” Anton beamed, stuffing the pillow in a duffel bag and dropping it to the floor. He flung his arms around his youngest son and squeezed tight. “I missed you so much.”
“You saw him last month,” said Troy, whose rough, muscular body mirrored his boys’ physique. Except for Damien who favored Anton’s slender build. Troy wore more scars, age, and gray. Two of Adam’s brothers remained living on the farm, Paul, and Kyle. Damien became a doctor in genetic reproduction. Adam remained in the military for four years, before leaving and moving to Cargo City joining the police force, after a bad breakup from his lover and partner Adam went over sea to live with his older brother who encouraged Adam to return and open a detective agency.
Their parents never argued or pushed their sons to be anything they didn’t want to be. Even though with heavy hearts, they accepted Adam’s choice to be in the military.
Adam didn’t say it, but he missed his mother just as much, as he hugged him back.
“Let the boy go so I can have a go at him please,” said Troy as Anton stepped away and watched them embrace. But he couldn’t help himself as he wrapped his arms around both his men.
“You never liked sharing them,” Troy said, releasing Adam and holding Anton back from attacking their son again.
“What’s going on here?” asked Adam.
“Surprise,” said Anton. “It was your father’s idea.”
“Mostly his,” injected Troy. “When your mother looked at the pictures, you sent in the text of this place he jumped into full mom mode.”
“I have it covered,” said Adam.
“Oh, did you?” said Anton. “I’m to believe you could to do this work on your own?” he asked, swiping his hand in the air.
“Well—not all but…”
“No, shut up, I’m here, and no one’s going anywhere until the job’s done.” He walked past Adam’s protesting grabbed the bag with the pillows and went back into the office.
“There’s no stopping him when he gets started,” said Troy.
“Yeah, I know. But I have money. I’m paying for this.”
“Sure, send me a check.”
“You never cash my checks.”
“I will. I promise.”
“Hey, here come your brothers,” Troy said, moving towards Paul and Kyle, who had a younger blonde male behind them. “Boys, say hello to your brother,” he said stepping into the office following Anton.
“Where’s he going?” asked Paul.
“Avoiding the talk of money. Look if I give you a check can you deposit it into his account for me?” asked Adam.
“I can try; he hates us giving him money,” said Paul.
“I hide it in one of mom’s old cookie jars he keeps emergency money in,” said Kyle.
“Okay, do that, I’ll write a check out to you Kyle so you can cash it.”
“On one condition,” said Kyle.
“What?” Adam asked.
“You hire him.” Kyle flashed a thumb back towards the blonde who Adam thought was still in high school.
“Hire him?” Adam repeated to be sure his brother wasn’t joking.
“Yeah,” Kyle looked back at the younger male who wore jeans and a worn tee shirt under an old jean jacket. A tribal tattoo stuck out from under his shirt crawling up and around his neck much like a claw. A beaded necklace dangled above his collar bone.
“And who are you?” Adam directed his question towards the blonde. The male stepped between the two brothers to stand in front of Adam.
“Justin Shi,” he said, handing Adam a folded paper.
“What’s this, your resume?” asked Adam
“Yes,” said Justin, shrugging his shoulders. Adam opened the paper, scanning it he noted Justin had no experience to be an assistant.
“I see you’re a junior in college majoring in criminal law.”
“I’m fascinated by the criminal mind,” Justin confessed.
“I’m not looking for a partner and you don’t really have any experience in being an assistant.” He saw his brother, Kyle pointing towards Justin’s ass and shaking his head. “This isn’t a good time, maybe you should…”
“What’s not a good time?” interrupted Anton, walking up to them holding a broom.
“Mom, I have this.” Adam tried to say but his mother ignored him when he saw Justin.
“Oh, hey sweetie,” Anton smiled. “Thanks for helping out, you are a treasure.”
“Wait, you know him and you made him work?” Adam asked.
“What? He offered. We met today,” said Anton, then turned his attention to Paul and Kyle. “What are you two doing?” Anton’s cheery demeanor changed when he scrutinized his sons who he suspected was avoiding work.
“We were saying hello to Adam,” answered Paul.
“Yeah and showing him his new employee,” said Kyle.
“Hold on—I never said…” started Adam but was interrupted by Anton.
“What a wonderful idea,” said Anton to Justin. “He can use the help.” Anton looked at Kyle and Paul. “You two, get back to work on that elevator. It better not take my baby to his final resting place.”
“Mom if you don’t mind…” Adam tried again.
“Oh, course not sweetie,” he said, patting Adam’s cheek. Troy, who heard the chatter from inside the office, entered the hallway and grabbed his husband’s waist pulling him back against his hard body before he smothered Adam again.
“How about we take a break, I’m starving,” said Troy.
“Good idea, boys go get the food, and we’ll eat upstairs,” said Anton turning and walking back into Adam’s office.
“Wait, mom, there’s no furniture or anything unpacked,” Adam tried to explain.
“That’s what we’re here for, go get coffee at the diner and come back hungry,” Anton said walking away before Adam could stop him. Troy stepped to his son and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry I’ll try to calm him down, but for now, do as he asked.”
“Fine, I’ll be back soon,” Adam said, defeated.
Adam turned to Justin and shrugged his shoulders. “Let’s go.”
“Look if you’re not into this…” Justin tried to back out.
“A word of advice if my mother says to go have coffee we have coffee. Besides, if you want to win me over do as he says.”