“Ashton please, it would mean the world to me if you came.” Howie said, his tone pleading as they talked.
“Howie, you know how dad is.”
“I know, but it’s my engagement party, please and besides you’re going to be my best man.”
Ashton sighed, of course he wanted to see his brother and meet his fiance and he hated he was making him beg. “Alright, what day is it again?”
“Day after tomorrow, at my place. Tell James he’s welcome of course.”
“I wish Andrew could be here, how’s school going for him?”
“Good, excellent actually.”
“Great, so I’ll see you and James soon then.”
“Yeah, love you Howie.”
“Love you too.” They both hung up and Ashton flopped down on the couch.
“Is that an upset huff I hear coming from the love of my life?” James said as he came inside from the back yard. He was dripping with sweat after his workout.
“Howie invited us to his engagement party.”
James sat down next to him. “And that’s bad why?”
Ashton leaned back and sighed again. “My dad’s going to be there.”
James smiled and kissed his cheek. “We can handle anything.”
“Says the guy who’s ready to kill someone for even looking at me wrong.”
James chuckled. “Lets go to his party, besides he hasn’t seen you in awhile and I’m sure he misses you. We can handle your dad.”
“he’s the one who pretends I don’t exist, not me. If he missed me he could have called and he’s not considerate enough to be scared to call.”
“He’s your dad, even heartless people tend to care about their kids. If he didn’t care about your brother I’d say theres no chance but maybe the bigot can get over himself”
“If not at least it’ll just be the cold shoulder and pretending he cant see me. That will be easy to handle for Howie”
“Precisely, It’s honestly his loss Ashton. You are an amazing man” Ashton smiled “I love you so much James.” he got up “let me pour you some lemonade” James smiled coyly and followed his husband. Ashton poured some lemonade into a glass then handed it to James who gulped it down. “thanks baby, come shower with me”
“okay, I’ll rub your back while we’re in there too”
“Oh there will be plenty of rubbing. I need to get all that stress out of you”
Ashton felt himself blush. It was amazing that after all this time, James still had such a profound effect on him. It never seemed to wane and it made him feel extremely loved. James hoisted him over his shoulder, carrying him upstairs. “James, I have legs.”
“And I have arms, good to know we both have our limbs.”
Ashton laughed so hard he couldn’t even fight back, all he could was dangle there. James sat him down on the counter then turned to start the water, testing its warmth before turning back to Ashton and tugging his shirt off. “Someone’s impatient.”
“With you, always.”
They stepped under the water when they were both completely nude and James instantly had him pushed against the shower wall, his hands pinned next to his head as James left bite marks on his shoulder and the back of his neck. “James stop, everyone’ll see when we go to my brother’s.”
“Good, I dare your old man to say a damn thing about them.” He nibbled Ashton’s ear and smiled when he shivered. He let one hand travel Ashton’s body, brushing his skin lightly with his fingers so he whimpered.
“James, stop teasing.” He turned his head and James locked their lips, making his heart hammer quickly in his chest. Sometimes he was so helpless against him.
James would have kept kissing him but he needed to hear Ashtons moans. James broke the kiss and licked up his spine before using one hand to hold one of Ashtons against the wall and the other to hold the side of Ashtons hips. James thrust into him, moaning himself as he delved deep. Their mingled moans filled the steamy bathroom until they were both cumming. The best part of making love in the shower was no clean up. James liked to try for multiple rounds so Ashton quickly said “I don’t want to get sore baby” James kissed his shoulder “I was just going to wash you now anyway”
“Oh sure, I totally believe you.”
“Good, you should always trust I’m telling the truth.”
Ashton smiled and rolled his eyes. “All those nights I wasn’t able to move say otherwise.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I think you’ve been reading too many books, so many you’ve confused fiction with reality.”
He pinched James, making him flinch. “Be nice, I do bite you know and don’t you dare make some weird perverted joke or I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.”
“I was just going to say I love you and you’re ferociousness is absolutely adorable.” He hugged Ashton and gave him a sweet kiss that had butterflies brushing his insides.
“I love you too.”
James lovingly washed Ashton then sensuously began washing himself to try and convince Ashton to have sex with him again. He chuckled when he could clearly see his lover was aroused but still refused him.”I’ll get you one more time today…just you wait” They played around, James achieving his goal of making love to Ashton one more time before the day was over. When it came time to go to the engagement party Ashton was scared and James wish he could comfort him. He was already getting angry and they hadn’t even gotten there yet. He hoped his dad was going to apologize because if he said one bad thing to Ashton he didn’t know if he could resist glocking him in the face.
The party was being held at Howie’s house and when they got there, Ashton’s brother was waiting on the front porch. “Baby brother.” Howie said as he came to his feet and hugged him. “Thank you for coming.”
“It’s good to see you Howie.”
“You need to visit more, both of you.” He shook James’s hand. “I trust it you’re keeping my brother happy.”
James smiled. “Of course.”
“Good, keep it that way.”
James just chuckled. Howie and Ashton looked so much alike it was hard to take Howie seriously sometimes. The biggest difference was their build. Howie was taller and more muscular than his little brother. “So is he here yet?” Ashton asked and Howie frowned.
“Not yet, but I told him he’s going to keep his mouth shut about you two or he could leave.” He sighed and put Ashton in a headlock.
“Ow, let go Howie.”
“Come on, you have to meet my beautiful fiance, she’s excited to finally see that you actually exist and aren’t merely a hallucination I made up.” He pulled Ashton along and James laughed as he watched his mate trying to fight off his brother. He knew sometimes Ashton forgot they were werewolves and he could easily break loose.
Howie let his brother loose right in front of his fiance Tessa. Ashton stood upstraight and gave her a friendly smile “I’m Ashton, I’m sorry we haven’t met. It isn’t you I swear.”
“Howie’s explained it to me but I hope you wont let your dad stop you in the future. Howie misses you more than he is probably admitting” Ashton nodded “I will, I miss him too”
“so you must be James” Tessa said birghtly and James offered his hand for her to shake “Yep, good to meet you.” They talked until the rest of the guests arrived. Both Howie and Ashton were wondering if their dad was going to show up but he finally did almost an hour late. Ashton guessed he had struggled to come knowing he was there.
Radley hugged Howie and congratulated him then Howie turned to James and Ashton. “Dad this is James, Ashton’s husband.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” James said politely, but didn’t bother offering his hand, he knew he probably wouldn’t be getting a handshake.
Radley looked him over then glanced at Ashton and away. “Ashton.”
Ashton sighed. “For awhile now, I have a son too, Andrew.”
“That’s right, Drew’s at school right now, what is that thing he’s studying to be again?”
“Epidemiologist.” James answered.
How snapped his fingers. “That’s right, he’s going to be a scientist and a good one. You should meet him and his girlfriend Fleur. You’ll have to call next time he’s home Ashton so we can all get together.”
“They’d love that.”
“Who wants a beer?” Tessa asked, trying to help things along.
“Please.” James said with a smile.
“Not me, thanks.” Ashton said.
“Come on baby bro, you have have at least one while you and dad cook steaks. You know I’m no good at it, I always get them well done. I only ever trust you two to cook them right.”
Ashton knew his brother was trying to get them to actually talk and he wanted to tell him not too, but Howie looked so hopeful. “Alright.”
HIs dad didn’t look too pleased either but it was what it was. Ashton was determined to try for Howie. They stood there awkwardly once the two of them were standing by the grill. James could sense his mates discomfort and hated it. He hated that an for not accepting Ashton just because he was gay. Ashton was kind and an amazing man. To act like he didn’t exist because he was gay was just horrible and childish. Ashton tried, knowing if he didn’t they wouldn’t talk at all “so, um, how’s life dad?”
“fine” he paused for awhile then seemed to ask only out of politeness “How’s yours?”
“Pretty good, had some bumps here and there.”
“With that guy?”
Ashton sighed. “Look, I know you hate me, but could you at least remember his name, it’s James.”
Ashton looked at his feet. “And to answer your question, James has been great. If it wasn’t for him I might be dead.”
“I guess Howie probably didn’t tell you, he wouldn’t and it really doesn’t matter I guess.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “A bunch of guys attacked me and beat the crap out of me. I got stabbed.” He glanced at his dad. His beer was frozen in the air halfway to his lips and Ashton swore he saw a flash of something like fear, but he shook his head, sure it was nothing. “Better flip those.” His dad huffed, but he did it all the same.
“and that man…James I mean, he saved you?” his father eventually said. “yes he did, he loves me. He would do anything in the world for me and I love him dad. We are everything to eachother and we have an amazing boy you’re missing out on. Andrew is smart and talented. He has a big heart and his girlfriend is amazing and makes him happy. It’s ridiculous you cant love me because the person I’m with isn’t a woman”
“what dad?” Ashton hadn’t realized he had raised his voice and just now noticed everyone was looking at them. “I guess I’ve embarrassed you again dad..I’m sorry”
James couldn’t keep himself away any longer and went straight to Ashton, grabbing his hand. “Introduce me to some of these people?”
Ashton almost felt like crying. “Okay, come on, let’s go talk to my aunt first, she’s really nice.” His met his dad’s eyes for a brief moment. “Are you going to be fine without me? The cooking, I mean.”
He nodded and pulled James away, grateful for the break. He didn’t know why he let his father get to him like this. He knew their relationship would never be good. He had tried many times before, but it had only made his father angry. He wanted him to understand he couldn’t just change. This was who he was. He was gay, he was married to a man and they had a son together. He sometimes wished they could hang out together like they had before, but that would mean going back to hiding himself and he refused to do that. He was calmer by the time he introduced James to his aunt. James wrapped him in a hug from behind and talked happily with everyone who came to join their conversation. It was nice having a husband with such good charisma.
Radly finished cooking the steaks and then they all ate. He didn’t talk much through the engagment party but nobody was surprised. Near the end of the party Radly approached Ashton “what’s your number?”
“Your number, I want it” Ashton rattled off his number and his father left the party. Howie came over “did he just ask for your number? Did I hear that right?”
“um…yeah” Howie smiled “maybe theres hope yet” Ashton frowned and Howie set a hand on his shoulder “I understand you not wanting to get your hopes up” Soon after James and Ashton left, making promises to get together soon, at least before the wedding. In the car James took Ashtons hand “I’ll be right by your side if he wants to see you.”
“I just still can’t believe he asked for my number”
“What were you talking to him about?”
James squeezed his hand. Nothing had been more terrifying than nearly losing Ashton. It had been a nightmare and he never wanted a repeat of the situation. “What did he say?”
“Nothing, I told him it’s not like it mattered. I mean to him anyway, I’m his gay disappointment.”
“Ashton, you’re a wonderful person.” He brushed a kiss over Ashton’s knuckles. “All that matters is that I love you, Andrew loves you, and the rest of your family and our friends love you. You don’t need someone who makes you feel upset enough to cry.”
“I know, but he’s my dad and Howie wants us to get along so badly. When we were kids, we did everything with our dad. We fished and hunted and camped, but the moment I came out he looked at me like he didn’t know me, like I was a complete stranger. That moment was one of the most painful.”
“I know baby, if I could beat sense into him I would. I mean, I could try”
“James, you wont be hitting him” James kissed his knuckles again “Maybe he’ll call and it’ll be nice. I hope so anyway”
“I hope it’s soon. I wont be able to keep my mind off of it”
“Oh I think I cna get your mind off of it” His words were drenched in suggestion that made Ashton laugh “do you ever stop thinking about sex?”
“I blame the wolf”
“You were like this before and you know it”
“Only for you Ashton” Ashton genuinely smiled, his heart smiling with him. “I know, I’m so lucky”
“I’m the lucky one” His dad called the next day “this kid, Andrew right?”
“do you think I could meet him and his girlfriend?”
“Yeah, I can call him and arrange something”
“call me back and let me know”
“okay” Ashton called his son and got no answer so he called Fleur who also let it go to voicemail. He left a voicemail on Fleurs phone and just sat down. He knew they would call back as soon as they noticed. It was Fleur who called “sorry we missed you earlier. What’s up?” Ashton explained and Fleur said “we’ve got a lot going on in school but we can get together for lunch sometime. We do have to eat”
“is there a particular day that works best?”
“every day is so much. We’ve been feeling guilty that we don’t spend more time with you guys”
“we understand, you two didn’t pick easy things to go to school for”
“Still, Andrew has especially been missing you. he talks about visiting all the time and then we get busy.”
Ashton smiled. “It’s okay Fleur, tell him we love him.”
“I will. How about we try for this weekend, I’m sure he would be happy to relax for a bit. The next time we’d get off after that would be Howie’s wedding, Andrew refuses to miss it.”
“Okay, just call us if things change, we won’t be upset.”
“So what’s going on?”
“It’s Andrew’s grandfather, he wants to meet you two.”
“Yeah, I know it’s a weird thing to spring on you two, but he was at Howie’s engagement party.”
“I’ll have Andrew call you when he’s not so busy.”
“Of course.” She sighed. “I need to go, love you and give James my love as well.”
“I will and we love you both.”
Andrew called about an hour later “grandpa? Really?”
“If you want us to meet him I will but I’m not going to let him be mean to you any more than James will dad” Ashton smiled “I know, I think he’s going to be nice”
“Fleur and I will definitely come this weekend. We need a break anyway.”
“When should I tell your grandfather he can see you?”
“Saturday, we’ll come Friday evening and just get it out of the way Saturday”
“I’m really excited”
“Us too dad, can I say hey to James?”
“Yeah, one second” he rushed to get James and he took the phone. When James was done Ashton called his dad and let him know Andrew and Fleur would be willing to see him Saturday. “Okay, where do you live?” His father didn’t even know his address. He should know it, Ashton had given it to him a few times but no doubt he hadn’t bothered to save it. Ashton gave it to him and they hungup. “How does he not know our address?” James asked. “It doesn’t matter. I just hope this is all going to work out” Ashton answered.
James pushed him back onto the couch and laid on top of him, his arms wrapping tightly around him and his head resting on Ashton’s chest. He reached for the TV controller and flipped it on then just went back to cuddling. He wanted Ashton happy, not sounding so worried. “What are you doing you silly wolf?”
“Making you feel better. I hate your father has you so upset.”
“Yes you are, you sound so tired already and I can feel your worry and stress so just be quiet and let me cuddle you into oblivious happiness.”
Ashton smiled and let himself relax and watch TV with James. His mate always knew what to do, whether it was kissing, cuddling, or making love, James was amazing had getting his mind off of things. “Thank you.”
James lifted his head. “For what?”
“For being you, for being such a good husband.”
“It’s not hard, you deserve all the happiness this world has to offer.”
The weekend arrived and while Ashton was tense about his dad at least he got to be around his son and his girlfriend. They let Radly pick where they were going to eat so they ended up at Herons. It was nicer than they had intended on going but they were fine with it. They all ordered and Fleur began talking. She wanted to avoid as much awkwardness as possible so she just started talking about her classes. Radly didn’t even pretend to be interested which annoyed Andrew but he didn’t say anything. Unless his father was outright rude to his dad or Fleur he wouldn’t fight with him.
“Why don’t you tell him about your classes Andrew” Fleur prompted.
Andrew sighed. “It’s just a bunch of classes on infectious diseases and data collecting and stuff like that. I’ve been doing a lot of shadowing at the hospital as well. It’s actually a lot of fun.” He didn’t want to pretend he liked Radly and he was sure the man could tell he wasn’t enjoying himself.
Fleur cleared her throat. “So what do you do?”
“I’m retired.” Radly answered. “I spend most of my time fishing and I got into carpentry.”
“Fleur’s been talking about getting a small bookshelf. Maybe you could build her one or something.” Andrew added.
“It wouldn’t be a problem, just have Ashton send me the measurements for the space.” He cleared his throat. “So, does Ashton take you fishing or anything?”
“He did before school, we haven’t had much time. Come break we’ll be doing more.”
Ashton hated how awkward this was, but at least everyone was trying. He hoped Andrew wouldn’t be too upset by all this at the end of the day. When Radly announced he had to go, Andrew told him bye then told Ashton and James he and Fleur would just stay the rest of the day and that night. James went up to make sure they had clean blankets and Ashton walked his dad to the door. “I guess we’ll see you at the wedding.”
“Yeah.” Radly stood on the porch just looking off for a moment. “You got a good boy.”
He nodded. “Look, Ashton…”
“I would never want you dead, I hope you know that. You’re still my son.”
Ashton swallowed. “Sure.”
Radly nodded again. “Alright, don’t be late for the wedding, you’re the best man.”
He turned away and Ashton blurted out, “Maybe we’ll have to set up a camping trip, you could teach Andrew all your fishing tricks.”
“I’d like that. Night.”
“are my wolf ears playing tricks or did you invite that man camping?” James asked when Ashton came inside. “It just sort of came out”
“Andrew had a terrible time, everyone did”
“Maybe it wont always be this awkward…maybe if we keep trying we can all be a family” James sighed and kissed his mates forehead. “Okay, if you want to keep trying I’m right here” Ashton hugged him ‘like you always are…I’m so lucky”
“Maybe you could come upstairs and show some appreciation” James said with a smile and Ashton laughed “I love you”
“I love you too Ashton, so much” James carried Ashton upstairs and got rid of all that stress with a night of passion, stopping before Ashton would be too sore to enjoy Andrew and Fleur tomorrow.
They made breakfast together the next morning, happy to have Andrew home, even if it was for a short period of time. When Andrew came downstairs with Fleur, Ashton couldn’t help but point out his messy hair. “You look just like the little boy who used to chase our dog around. So messy all the time.”
Andrew blushed and James and Fleur laughed. “You need to get me some siblings so I’m not the only one being teased.”
James gave Ashton a sidelong glance. “He might be right, we could adopt more or find a surrogate this time. He’d be a great older brother.”
“I’ve thought about it, it was so great raising you.” He said to his son. “I just feel like I’d be so picky with a surrogate we’d never find one.” Then there was his father, even if he was trying.
“We’ll talk about it later, let’s just spend time with these kids, they’ll be gone again before you know it.” Ashton knew he was right and put his worries aside. They had talked about it before and he would love to have a child from both of them.
They took Andrew and Fleur to a theme park about thirty minutes away to spend the day. As they were sitting down enjoying funnel cakes Fleur thanked Andrews dads “You have no idea how badly we needed a day like this. College sucks” James chuckled “we know you two work hard. How are your parents enjoying Iceland?”
“They love it, Andrew and I need to visit them too somtime”
“They said you and dad were welcome too when we went. They were hoping we’d go for Christmas break” Andrew added and Ashton answered “I think we can manage that. We see you guys more than they do though, you sure they wouldn’t prefer a turn alone?” Fleur now spoke, waving her hands “no no, they liked you guys a lot and miss hanging out with you too. You are very welcome”
“Okay, it’s set then”
The rest of the day was spent having fun and making Andrew and Fleur laugh when James insisted on competing with Ashton at the firing range. Ashton was a better shot after spending so much time with his dad and he wound up winning a big teddy bear. “Now you have something to keep you company if I ever have to go anywhere.” James teased, making Ashton blush.
“Shut up.” He handed it to Fleur. “You take it, he’ll tease me mercilessly if you don’t.”
“Thank you.” She said with a laugh. At the end of the day, they all headed back to the house and hugged Andrew and Fleur goodbye. Andrew didn’t feel so bad about not visiting more since he would being seeing his parents at Howie’s wedding and then winter break. It was something he looked forward too and he was going to work hard so that nothing could get in the way.
“We raised a good boy.”
“Yeah, I’m so proud of him, he’s come such a long way from the little boy who was afraid of cars.”
“I really want to raise another kid with you Ashton” James said and Ashton agreed “well lets look into surrogates”
“we agreed on you bring the dad right? I really want a little Ashton”
“Why not one for each of us. We wont start the process until we’ve picked two moms”
“With what we have in savings and if I do more fights I think we can manage to hire and pay for the care of two surrogates”
“I didn’t think of the expense, you wouldn’t mind doing more fights? I could get a job again until the kids get here” James had just gotten the painful reminder of what once happened to Ashton. Ashton saw it in his face “James I’m a wolf now. I’ll be safe”
“You forget that a lot”
“If I’m in danger I wont. I don’t want the full burden on you of the expense of a surrogate. I want to work until the babies come”
“I guess, You can start job hunting while we find women we would like” The first thing Ashton did when they got home was look at online listings for work. James had just as much enthusiasm and started looking at reviews for different surrogates.
Ashton found a job he liked working full time at an antique shop. It offered good pay and would give him a steady schedule so he could still spend time with James. He was glad he was a wolf now, it gave him more strength and stamina so he wouldn’t be too tired after work. James was till looking at surrogates when he called in to set up an interview. The man on the other side of the phone sounded younger, maybe about eighteen and he wondered if he was the owner or if he was related to the owner. “I’ll pencil you in for next week, my dad’ll be doing the interview.” The man said. “He’s the owner, I’m leaving for school soon so he needs help.”
“I was about to ask if the shop was yours.”
“No, I’m just helping out, it’s actually a lot of fun. You might have to lift heavy stuff, I hope that’s okay.”
“I can do whatever he needs me too, trust me.”
“Awesome, so is Wednesday next week okay?”
“Just come in whenever, he’ll be here all day.”
“Alright, thanks.” He hung up then joined James. “So, anything?”
“This is harder than I thought.”
Ashton laughed. “I told you.” He kissed James’s cheek. “We don’t have to rush you know, we’ll find one.”
“did you find a job you liked Ashton?”
“Yep, I have an interview Wednesday”
“Damn you’re fast” Ashton laughed, knowing James had hoped it would take awhile. He knew his mate was worried but it was unfounded. He was a wolf and could protect himself. Everything seemed to go perfectly from there. Wednesday he got hired on the spot and his brother Howie’s wedding was beautiful. Ashton was overjoyed for his brother and couldn’t believe how hard his dad was obviously trying to come around. He didn’t have one nasty thing to say to Ashton and talked to him a lot for who his dad was. There was a lot of work ahead of them but Ashton was sure he and James could handle it. It was all going to end up perfect in the end, he just knew it.
~ The End