The new twins were released from the hospital after just five days, a couple of days earlier than expected. They were thriving. The whole family waited at Jamie and Sarah's that Saturday for the babies to come home for the first time.
George arrived without his girlfriend. Marjorie was still in town after all, I wondered how that would play out. Nick, Jessica, and Mallory joined the festivities shortly after Marcus and I. Jessica was starting to show with a baby bump of her own.
Marcus and I basically had the older twins (we still hadn't figured out what we were going to call each set of twins yet) spend the week at our house, along with his mother. After school, we did homework, ate dinner, and went to the hospital. At night, Marjorie and the boys returned to Jamie's to sleep.
I loved every minute of it, except Marjorie's continued silent treatment. The boys were always a joy to be around.
Sarah's family lived a few hours away, so her brother wouldn't be in the babies' lives as much as I would. So, I managed to sneak to the mall one night to get a stuffed giraffe and panda for Tommie and Ben. It felt like what a godfather should do. At the same time, I found a couple of outfits for the boys that said "I Love My Godfather" on the front. I also grabbed a new movie for Stephen and Josh. I wrapped all the gifts and had a bag sitting by my feet.
"Uncle T, are those presents for Tommie and Ben?" Stephen asked.
"Yes they are." I answered. "But there might be one in here for two big brothers who have been on their best behavior all week."
"Really? Cool, Uncle T. You are the most awesomest."
"What does that make me? Chopped liver?" Marcus pouted.
"Chopped liver? I don't even know what that is. Uncle M, you have always been awesome." Stephen hugged Marcus and planted a raspberry on his cheek.
Marcus grinned at me. "What did you get?"
"I found a movie for Stephen and Josh."
"Just some presents a godfather should take care of, that's all."
"You are really eating this up, aren't you?" He smiled at me.
I grinned, "You know me. Plus I never thought I'd get to be a godfather. It's wicked cool."
"Wicked," he chuckled. "You have been really awesome this week. Thanks, for helping with the boys all week, and putting up with my mother." He kissed me. "You know you pretty much act like a godfather to Josh and Stephen already. You are wonderful, Babe."
"Are you kidding? It's been great. I think when we have some alone time… We need to talk about what it's going to take to be dads ourselves. The new babies and being with the twins all week has really got me thinking. You're not getting any younger and I think my biological clock is ticking pretty loud. I don't want to wait too long before we figure out how to make my mother a grandmother. She's already starting to push."
"I'm not getting any younger. Really? This is how you want to start this conversation."
I burst out laughing. Just then, Sarah and Jamie pulled into the driveway.
"We will discuss your attitude later, I promise."
We had a glorious afternoon. Since we all brought food, it was an impromptu Taylor family dinner. I don't think there was a second the babies weren't being held or fed or burped or diapered. I managed to get the babies changed into my outfits during one diapering. When I handed Tommy to Marcus, he burst out laughing. He held him up for everyone to see.
"Can you tell someone's 'wicked' excited to be a godfather? You are too much. And those animals are flipping adorable."
I just grinned at him.
Jamie laughed. "Don't let him give you any grief. He and Nick were just as bad when Josh and Stephen were born. Although Marcus's first stuffed animals were bigger than the boys; you, at least, got animals they can actually sleep with and will fit in their hands. Thanks, Tony, those outfits are too cute. But you realize they will outgrow them pretty quick."
"Yeah, that's why there are two more sizes in the box here."
The entire family burst out laughing, except Marjorie of course. I'm sure I blushed. I know I was beaming.
Eventually, we called it a night. Originally we planned a sleepover with the twins, but the family wanted to have time together. The boys needed to get used to babies in the house, and we needed some alone time.
The next morning, Marcus made my mother's breakfast crepes and delivered them to me in bed. He grinned at me as I wolfed down a second helping.
"Wow, Babe, were you a touch hungry this morning?"
"I guess I was. What are we up to today?"
"I was thinking we need just an 'us' day. We could go to the bakery and do a cake tasting today. We could work on the guest list for the wedding. We do need to finalize plans for Danni's party. We haven't given it too much thought. I know we are going to start at Amy and Fran's, but then what? Plus we need a guest list for that too. And I recall the need for a discussion about your attitude is in order."
I burst out laughing. "I was hoping you'd forgotten about that. I should have known better. I would love to taste some cakes today. Maybe your mother would like to join us… "
"Careful what you ask for… you might just get it."
"Who are you kidding? Your mother won't have anything to do with this wedding. Besides she is not speaking to me right now anyway. Although, I have truly enjoyed the silent treatment all week, it's been a real joy. NOT."
"Maybe I should call her and see if she wants to join us… "
"Are you pissed at me for something? Really? I was just being a smart ass."
"Yeah, but you need to be punished for that 'not getting any younger' comment. I have no intention of letting you get away with that nonsense."
He pulled out his phone and waited for an answer.
"Good morning, Mother. Tony and I are going to the bakery to taste cakes this afternoon and I was wondering if you'd like to join us? Yes, Mother I'm being serious… Actually, it was Tony's idea… No Mother he hasn't. We just wanted to try to get you involved… Okay, I'll see you tomorrow before your flight.
"My mother has declined our invitation. She did say thank you for asking… No she didn't… She actually asked if you had been drinking." He started to laugh. "So, we are on our own for the tasting, unless you want to wait for your parents to come back."
"You complete ass. I can't believe you just did that… Did she really ask if I had been drinking?" I snapped.
Marcus was laughing so hard he couldn't answer me.
I picked up the breakfast dishes and stormed out of the bedroom. As I was throwing them into the dishwasher, Marcus grabbed me from behind.
"Don't be mad, Babe. I was just teasing you. I knew she'd say no, but now she can't say we didn't want her involved. That's twice she has had the chance to join us and she's turned us down. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make light of the situation. I know her attitude upsets you, but you need to let it go. I promise it's not you. Please don't be mad."
"I can't believe you did that. You make me look like an absolute jerk. You don't understand. I don't want your mother to hate me. She thinks so little of me already. I don't need you to fuel the fire. You just don't get it."
"I'm sorry. You're right. I should never have put it the way I did. I made light of the situation. I also should have corrected her when she made that flip remark. I'm sorry."
"I just want her to understand what you mean to me. She frustrates the piss out of me. You need to stop making it worse."
"Okay, I understand. I promise not to be flip about you and her again. I'm really sorry. Can we start over?"
"I'm not sure you do understand." I seethed.
"Well then explain it to me…" He snapped back. "You thought it was all funny when this started."
I looked at him. I could tell he was getting angry. The very last thing I wanted was Marjorie to have an effect on our relationship. I took a deep breath and slumped into a chair.
"You're right. I'm sorry. I was jumping all over you and I started it by being flip myself. I'm so sorry. I hate that your mother pushes all my buttons. I don't want this to be how it goes with us and her."
I was on the verge of tears. Apparently, I was much more run down than I thought.
Marcus bent down and hugged me.
"Babe, I'm sorry, too. Let's just drop this. My mother will not have this power over us. We need to shower and figure out what we want to do today. Kiss me, please.
We kissed. I held on to him and didn't want to let go. Finally he grabbed my hand and led me to the bedroom. We undressed each other and walked into the bathroom. After the water warmed up, we showered together. It was very intimate, but not sexual. It was almost as though we needed to just reacquaint ourselves. Little touches and small caresses, we shared a closeness we had been missing over the last couple of weeks.
He put his finger on my lips.
"I know. Let's both just let it go. I think we should just hang out today. We need to work on Danni's party. We can save the tasting for another day."
"Good idea. I love you."
"I love you, more."
We spent the day planning the party. Danni's idea that there were only a few people he wanted to see kept us from going overboard. Finally, with Amy and Fran on board, we were set up for Friday night. We narrowed the guest list to twenty. Fran insisted they would set up a corner of the restaurant for the celebration.
"Sugar, twenty people is a piece of cake. We will set everyone up in the front corner and still have the rest of the room for normal service. My sweetie is really excited about this shindig. She has kicked into a creative Zen I haven't seen in a while. She has been working on some new tastes for this party. And I have it all worked out for us to join the festivities after, I don't think I'll need to hogtie her down. She is really looking forward to seeing Marcus and Danni. And you too, Sweetie."
"That's great. You need to make sure you let us know how much this is costing you. Marcus and I have every intention of paying for this."
"Stop frettin', Sugar. We are using this as a business tax write off. You and your honey are going to be trying some new tastes for your reception, and a couple of the other guests are thinking about using our place for their own big 'do' in the spring. After this, you and Marcus need to come up with the list of tastes for your reception, so this is all legit."
"Are you sure? I think my fiancé might have an issue with you guys footing the bill…"
"Babe, put that phone on speaker…
"What's this nonsense about you not taking our money for this party? Fran, that wasn't part of the deal."
"Marcus, sweetie, relax. My accountant is all on board for using this as a write-off. Apparently, we had such a good year last year we need to start the new one with more 'business' parties. So like I told your honey, after the party, you boys need to make the choices for your wedding. It's all good."
"You are still coming back to the condo for the rest of the night, right?'
"Of course, Amy is all excited. I think she misses you guys more than she realized."
"Alright then, tell her we will see her soon. Love you guys."
We spent the afternoon getting the rest of the party guests on board. Marcus made a simple pasta and chicken dish for dinner, and we spent the evening just being together. Thankfully, the morning disagreement was past us.
The next day, I texted Marcus just as I was leaving school. Marcus immediately called back in a panic.
"Babe, I hate to do this to you. But there is no one else. Is there any way you can take my mother to the airport? I can't get out of here and Jamie is stuck at work, too. There is no one else; Sarah can't possibly get four kids in the van. I'm so sorry. You are the only one who can do this."
"Okay, when does she need to be at the airport?"
"In less than an hour, her flight is at five."
"Let her know I'm on the way."
"Thank you so much. You are amazing."
"You are so going to owe me for this."
"I know. I wish there was another way, but unless she takes a cab…"
"No, that's not necessary. I'll text you after I drop her off at the airport."
I drove to Jamie's. Sarah met me at the door with a pained look on her face.
"You are such a peach to do this. I'm sorry. Stephen and Josh aren't home yet."
"No problem. Where is her luggage?"
"It's in my room, Anthony." Marjorie replied.
"Okay, I'll get it out to the car."
I gave the babies a quick kiss on the forehead and carried the bags to my car. For a moment, I thought Marjorie was going to sit in the backseat while I drove. At the last second, she got in the front seat.
We drove in complete silence for the first ten minutes. Finally, I couldn't take the quiet any longer.
"Mrs. Taylor, I really wish things had gone differently between us. I had hoped you would see how deeply I care for your son and you would embrace us. Now, my hope is you will see your way clear to attend our wedding for Marcus' sake. It would mean the world to him. If there is anything I could do to make that happen, please tell me. Nothing means more to me than Marcus's happiness."
She took a deep breath.
"Anthony, I'll say it again; you are a thoughtful and well-spoken young man. Marcus could do much worse. I love my son, but I'm not sure I can support a gay marriage. It goes against everything I was taught, everything I believe. However, you have given me a lot to think about.
"You have reminded me this is about Marcus and not about me. My son's happiness is so important to me. I'm very torn. I'm not going to make any promises to you. But I will consider things carefully."
"Thank you for at least that. I suppose it's the most I could hope for."
"I also want you to know I haven't been giving you the silent treatment. Well, I'm sure it seemed that way. I have been trying to decide how to proceed with you. You catch me off guard. You cut to the quick and force me off balance. You have given me a lot to think about.
"You are an earnest young man. Obviously, you care deeply about my son. If nothing else, you have forced me to think carefully about what is important."
"Well, I suppose I have one last thought for you. Whatever you decide, you'll only get one chance." I paused and took a deep breath. "You won't get a do over. You can't undo your choice. I hope you won't have any regrets."
She stared at me. Then, she nodded her head.
"Thank you for bringing me to the airport. Please set the bags on the sidewalk, I'll get a porter to take care of them for me."
"Have a safe trip. Call your son to let him know you've made it home, please. Good-bye, Mrs. Taylor."
I texted Marcus, and then drove home feeling slightly better about Marjorie. I really couldn't do much more; it really was all up to her at this point.
Marcus finally arrived at the condo about eight that night. I reheated some of his lasagna for dinner. Marcus seemed distracted at best.
"Hon, what's going on? You seem a million miles away."
"It's just work stuff. Now that my father has given me more control of the firm, I hired Hudgins Design from Atlanta to do our website and advertising. Don't get me wrong they are brilliant, but approving things and reworking ideas is taking more time than I hoped. Plus, I have a conference the last week of February in Philadelphia. It's a three day event with panel discussions and general networking. You know boring lectures and lots of glad-handing."
I smiled and nodded my head.
"Well, I forgot I was presenting this year. I'm on a panel discussing parental custody. I get to argue about father's rights against another lawyer who will support a mother's rights. I was just going to skip the event this year, but one of the coordinators called to remind me about the panel. Unfortunately, it means some serious research and writing a presentation about why a mother shouldn't always get custody. I really don't want to take the time away from us and wedding plans."
"Relax, Hon, we really have most everything decided for the wedding. Or at least, we have all the major decisions made. We will easily be able to firm up the last few things. Besides I have a ton of work for Ian's project coming up. He wants the peer group to start working on some of the lessons that have been planned out, and then give feedback to improve on some of the ideas. I guess it means we will be spending a lot of time together in the office. We might have to build a partition so I can concentrate… "
"You are cute. By the way, I can't thank you enough for taking Mother to the airport. How was she?"
I paused, "She was fine. At first, I thought she was going to sit in the back seat and let me play chauffeur. Then for the first ten minutes, she was silent. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. But, the brief conversation went okay. I really only said a couple of things to her."
"Well, it was above and beyond. Thank you."
"It was no big deal. Plus, I think I needed a karma fix with your mother anyway."
Marcus burst out laughing and pulled me in for a kiss.
"Babe, I'm wiped out tonight, how about a little cuddling and some music?"
The rest of the month flew by. Marcus and I spent a great deal of time working in the office. Most of the time, I could concentrate on the task at hand. But, every now and then, I would find myself staring at him. Thinking about how amazingly happy I was. Wondering what I did to deserve this life. Praying it would last forever.
Wednesday before Danni's party, he caught me looking at him. He grinned at me.
"What are you talking about?"
"Babe, what are you looking at? It doesn't appear you are getting any work done?"
"I'm staring at the most amazing man. Trying to figure out how I got so lucky." I smiled.
Suddenly, I got an idea.
"I need a break. I'm sick of school work. We need to do something fun. I know Danni's party is just a couple of days away, but I want to do something just the two of us; Right now."
Marcus chuckled, "It's a weeknight… What did you have in mind?"
"I want to go dancing. Just us Just for a little while. Please… We haven't gone since I got the cast off. It's only eight o'clock, we can be back home by ten."
"Babe, you're serious aren't you?"
"I know the last time in New York was a fiasco, but I really want to dance with you. You know how much I love it."
Marcus thought for a moment. He grinned at me.
"Sure, why the hell not… Can we go dressed like we are?"
"Abso-fucking-lutely… we don't need to impress anyone. Plus it's Wednesday, no one will be out tonight. I'm wicked excited."
It was just what I needed. We went to our favorite gay club, Noah's. We danced to a few upbeat songs, laughing and being crazy together. I finally requested a couple slow numbers. I was in heaven. My coordination was completely back to normal. I just held on as we moved together.
I whispered in his ear, "I love you. You make me incredibly happy. You are the most amazing man." I pulled back slightly and continued. "Remember our first night here. I foamed at the mouth and kept you from your friends. Not my finest moment… "
He stepped back and grinned at me.
"Babe, you have no idea. You tugged at my heart pretty strongly that night. It's funny, that weekend I did everything I could to be your friend, just your friend. I really didn't consider anything more. Oddly enough, I think I started to fall in love with you later that week, when we started just chatting. I figured out just how amazing you are during those chats. Fortunately, the head on my shoulders was in charge and I stayed in friend mode. Maybe for a little too long, but things worked out in the end."
"Yeah, they sure did." I kissed him. "I think it's time to go home. I'd love to stay all night, but the rest of the week will be a little crazy. Thanks, Hon; this is exactly what I needed."
"Me too, Babe, me too."
The next night, Danni and Hunter showed up at seven, loaded down with luggage. They planned on staying until Sunday morning's train back to New York City.
"Well, explain to me when nineteen year olds got so young. The kid subletting my apartment looks like he hasn't even started shaving yet. He seems like a nice kid though."
"Well, as I recall you were still being asked for ID when you were twenty-seven. So, all I can say is pot meet the kettle… "
"We haven't seen each other in over a month and still you got to diss me. I'm going to miss your boyfriend, you, not so much."
Hunter shook his head at me, "You were right. Do they ever stop?"
"Not that I'm aware of… But tomorrow night when we add the third stooge to this twosome we will find out."
"Apparently, one of our hostesses tomorrow was friends with these two in high school. Frankly, she seemed fairly normal, but anyone who has been friends with these two for any length of time… How normal could they be?" I chuckled.
Danni yelled, "Marcus Lucas Taylor, again I want to know what you've done to this boy. He is all attitude lately."
I burst out laughing. "Hunter, it's going to be an interesting couple of days with these two. I hope you're ready for this."
"Please I've been with the Diva here non-stop for the last few months. I'm ready for anything."
We finally sat down for dinner. Marcus tried a recipe out of his Christmas gift cookbook. He prepared Filet Mignon with gorgonzola cream sauce. I had never had anything like it in my life. It was so rich and delicious.
"Hon, what is the spice in here. I can't figure it out. This is wicked good."
"Believe it or not it's nutmeg, among other things. You like it?"
"Like it… It's flipping amazing."
Danni just shook his head. "Listen while this may be fucking delicious, don't be giving the man a big head. And what's with all this flipping and wicked… "
"Now who's doing the dissing? I've been saying flipping and wicked since the day we met." I laughed. "My fiancé finds it quite endearing."
"Yeah, well, Marcus would think a hangnail was cute if it was yours… "
Until that very moment, I never found a 'spit take' funny. I never thought it was real. I had just finished taking a sip of water and was wiping my face with a napkin when Danni made that remark. I turned toward the balcony window and spit out my water. Somehow after spitting I started choking from laughing so hard.
"What are you trying to do? Kill him?"
I couldn't stop laughing or choking. Marcus started pounding my back. Finally, I managed to take a deep breath.
"The hangnail comment may go down in history as one of the funniest thing you've ever said. Seriously, have you been saving that one up?"
Danni was grinning. Hunter was sitting there shaking his head.
"You two bring out the best and the worst in the Diva here. But just to be sure you heard him correctly; this meal is flipping-fucking-delicious. I'm stunned. I've been living in the City for years now and this ranks up there with any meal I've had. Marcus, I'm impressed."
"Thanks, it was wicked easy to make. It's just a little tricky to get the sauce right."
Danni dropped his fork. "Tell me you didn't just say that. I need another glass of wine; this is too much."
"Not to change the subject, but did we forget anyone for tomorrow's party? You told us to keep it small." I asked.
"I invited Jared to join us," Marcus spun around and I just glared at Danni. "Not that Jared, put your eyes back in your heads, relax. The kid that's taking my apartment, he's new to town. He just transferred to the university. I was hoping he'd be able to meet a few people. He just came out and is too young for the bar scene.
"His grandparents are footing the bill for his college tuition and living arrangements. I guess things at home went very bad when he came out. I was hoping you could hook him up with the youth center. Geez, you guys, give me some credit."
"Sorry, that name holds nothing but bad memories for us. We would love to meet him and introduce him to the people at the youth center." Marcus said.
"What is he studying? Do you know?" I asked. "Did he move here for school or because of his parents? This is exactly the kind of kid that needs the support of the center. He's lucky his grandparents are coming through for him."
Hunter jumped in, "He's here because it's further from his mother and stepfather and closer to his grandparents. Plus, I think it's where he originally wanted to attend. I guess his father was killed in action in Iraq a few years ago. His paternal grandparents are the ones taking care of things. His stepfather threw him out of the house and cut him off when he came out to his mother. He's really shook up and could use some friends. Knowing you two, he will be hooked up with the right people in no time."
I started to fume. "I don't understand how parents can be like that. Why would any mother choose a man over her own son? I just don't understand how being gay changes how you feel about your own kid. I really am so lucky. I have the most wonderful parents. Trust me; we will do everything we can to help him out. Right, Hon?"
"Absolutely, Babe… whatever we can do."
Danni smiled, "I knew Mr. and Mr. Wonderful would come through. It's nice to know there are certain things you can be sure of in this world."
Thanks to the amazing people in my life:
My Hubby, Ray
My amazing editor, David