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Milan & Craig

A collaboration between us and Caylie

Chapter One

Milan looked around the airport for his friend Derych Sunt. Since he flew in he had promised to pick him up so he wouldn’t have to call a cab. Finally they found eachother, Derych Sunt giving Milan a tight hug. “Hey” He said semi awkwardly. They hadn’t seen or talked to eachother in person since they broke up the year before Milans father committed a murder suicide, taking out his wife and daughter. It was why coming home after college was such a solemn affair. Two years ago he had to attend the funeral of his mother, father and little seven year old sister. Apparently his father had caught his mother cheating and decided to retaliate with killing her, then his daughter, then himself.

It hurt him they were all dead but it hurt the most his sister who had done nothing wrong died aswell. She was only seven and had to pay for her mothers infidelity. Even with counseling and anger management classes he was having trouble forgiving his parents, especially his father. People get cheated on every day and they dont kill their families and themselves. What his mother did was cold and horrible but what his father did he felt was worse.

He knew he might not hate his father so much if his sisters life had been spared but he didn’t give a damn about what ifs. His father had done what he did and he didn’t think he’d ever be able to give his parents forgivness. Here he was two years later, done with college so had no more excuses to go back to his childhood home and sort out things. He was left everything his family owned which was a lot since his father owned an insurance company. The past two years Milan had been involved with as little as possible, not in sound enough mind to handle any of it.

They walked out to Derychs car and loaded Milans bag in the trunk before getting in. “Thanks” Milan finalyl said “No problem, want to stay in my house?”

“You know I need to go to mine”

“I’ll stay with you then. You shouldn’t be alone” Milan sighed “I probably shouldn’t. Thank you”

“That’s what friends are for.” Derych started his car and pulled out of the parking lot. “We can stop and grab a pizza so we don’t have to cook.”

“That sounds great.” Milan stared out the passenger window, watching as the familiar buildings of his hometown passed him by. His heart was heavy with sadness when Derych pulled to a stop in front of CiCi’s Pizza and they got out.

“You don’t have to come in.”

“It’s fine, I don’t feel like sitting still.”

He followed Derych inside and up to the counter. “Welcome to CiCi’s.” Milan looked up to respond and froze when his eyes met those of the man behind the counter. He breathed in his scent, noticing there was something strange about it. The man looked him over then a look of recognition dawned. “You’re Milan.”

“Do I know you?”

“No, sorry, I’m Craig. My son played with your sister. I am very sorry for your loss.”

Milan swallowed down the sadness. “Thank you.”

Craig gave him a warm, understanding smile. “What would you like?”

“Two large pizzas to go, plain cheese”

“coming right up.”

“I’m paying” Derych quickly said and Craig shook his head “Please, let this be on the house. I own this place and your sister meant a lot to my son. Not to mention I can’t imagine the pain you’re suffering through. Let me give you the pizza, even if just once so I can do somthing for your family.”

“Money isn’t a problem. You know I’ve inherited my fathers insurance company”

“I know but its a small thing I can do”

“Just the once if you really want to. Is your son Marcus?’

“yeah” Milan gave a sad smile, obviously forcing tears down “she really liked him too…told me about him on the phone….” Craig swallowed, resisting the urge to hug Milan. He didn’t know what to say, what might hurt him more or might actually help. He ended up awkwardly going to make pizza, hating he couldn’t come up with somthing to say to the older brother of the girl that meant the world to his son. When the pizza came out Craig insisted again that they just take the pizza and the two accepted and left. Craig watched them leave, hoping he’d see Milan again.

Derych was having the same struggle as Craig had in CiCis as they rode home. Milan was obviously struggling and he sat there with nothing intelligent or comforting to say. What honestly could be said with what he was going through. “stop that” Milan suddenly said “stop that?’ Derych asked, honestly confused. “I can feel your tension and conflict. Plus I know you anyway. There isn’t much you can say to me so don’t struggle trying to find words. I’m just grateful you’re here to help me get through this. Coming home, going to my house….it’s so hard…”

“I know, I’m sorry. I just hate seeing you look so helpless.”

“I can get through this.”

They both stayed quiet, neither of them relieved when they finally pulled to a stop in front of his family’s home. Milan sighed as he got out, Derych popping the trunk then grabbing the pizzas as Milan got out and grabbed his bag. Walking up to the front door felt like walking through quicksand. Milan sat his bag down on the porch and fished the key out of his pocket. He didn’t want to go inside and stood there with his hand on the door knob, his heart clenching in pain. “You don’t have to do this.” Derych said.

“Yes I do. I have to do it for my sister.”

He unlocked the door then turned the knob and pushed it open. He picked up his bag, took a deep breath and stepped inside. The house was so quiet, frighteningly so. Derych rubbed his back and said, “It’s okay.”

“I’m fine, thanks.”

Craig couldn’t get his mind off of Milan as he wiped down the counter then swept the floor. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the sorrow he was feeling. He sighed, suddenly feeling very depressed. He heard the door open and looked up, smiling when he saw his son. “Hey bud, what’re you doing here?”

“I was bored at home and had Maggie bring me.”

“And where’s Maggie?”

“I told her she could go.”

Craig chuckled. “Alright.”

“Why do you look so sad?”

“Well, Anita’s brother came in today. He had to go home to get things in order.”

“Oh.” His son looked heartbroken and he hugged him. “Dad, could we go over and help him?”

He sighed “we’ll go over tomorrow and see if we’re welcome. Might be best to let him have the first night without company.”

“I miss her so much dad”

“I know, she was such a sweet little girl and I know your best friend” His son was choked up again as he asked the question that Craig could never answer ‘why did Mr Kolt take her away…why would he kill Anita” Craig found himself fighting off tears as he held his son tighter.

Milan was frozen as he tried to pass Anitas door to get to his old bedroom. Derych just stood behind him, not sure if he should say somthing or try to nudge Milan past. A Half hour passed of Milan just staring at her door when Derych could feel the anger swelling in Milan “Milan” he finally said. Milan made fists and started shaking. “Milan” Derych tried again.

He suddenly turned away from the door and angrily walked to his own bedroom. He threw his bag down and cried out in rage. Milan was afraid but still approached to try and calm him “Milan, being angry wont bring her back. She wouldn’t want you this angry. Please calm down”

Milan’s whole body shook with the rage he was trying to deminish, he knew this isn’t how his sister wanted him to be and anger was pointless yet it felt so good to just let go and stop fighting the overwhelming grief that had consumed him upon hearing of his familys death, the shaking turned into tremors that rolled through his body as he fought the options; he could just let go, release the beast and the rage, hate and sadness with it potentially causing mass destruction and murder or cap it all down again locking it tight in a box, wrapping it in chains and tossing the key only to face the same problem down the road. The tremors turned violent as the struggle to continue hiding what everyone knew was boiling just beneath his surface began to falter. Derych’s eyes widened as he knew what was coming “Please Milan, this isn’t what Anita would have wanted, I know you’re struggling to balance the pain and anger but this is not the way!” He knew he had to get Milan under control and soon but he knew at this point his friend would no longer listen to reason.
Milan began grunting and leaned forward crouching low over the ground his whole body shaking as if an earthquake tormented him from the inside, Derych could only think of one way to get his full attention and quickly stepping forward around Milan to face him he leaned down and quickly planted a kiss on his lips, making it slow and meaningful he stepped back “I still love you Milan..” he let that hang in the air between them as the tremors slowly began to subside.

“Don’t…say that.” Milan replied when he was finally able to speak again.

“I didn’t mean…”

“It’s fine, just don’t and don’t kiss me again.”

“I just didn’t want you destroying the house, or the yard, or the neighborhood. It won’t happen again, I promise. Just take a breath and keep your cool.”

“The day I’m able to keep my cool, is the day these memories no longer exist.” Derych rubbed his back.

“Let’s eat okay.”

Craig cleaned up the kitchen, waving goodbye to the other workers. His son mopped the front, bringing it into the back and putting it away when he was done. “You almost done dad?”

“Yep, let me finish with the oven then we can go home.”

“Can we have spaghetti tonight?”

“Sure.”

“With carrots in it?”

Craig chuckled. “Anything you want.”

Craig finished his cleaning then locked up so he could take his little boy home. “daddy?”

“yeah?”

“can we make some peanut butter cookies for Milan?”

“why?’

“because, the last time I was playing with Anita she said her mom was going to help her bake peanut butter cookies for Milan when he came for a visit. When we went to her funeral I promised her I’d make them for her. This is my first chance” Craig felt pain tug at his heart “Okay, we’ll stop by target and buy what we need”

“Thanks dad”

“Just be prepared tomorrow. Things are really hard for mr Milan right now”

“I know dad” They stopped by Target and bought what they needed then went the rest of the way home. Right after dinner Craig gave direction while Gary did everything. “awesome job buddy” Craig praised when the cookies were done.

The next morning Milan still felt uncomfortable due to Derych’s kiss. It made him worry that he might not have simply been using I love you as a means to bring him back but actually meant it. Milan held absolutely no feelings for him any longer and hoped he hadn’t done anything to suggest otherwise. He was also eaten up with disappointment in himself. After all his progress in anger management he had gotten so pissed he shifted. He knew coming home it would be harder but he had expected better of himself than to reach that level of anger. He sat at the kitchen table sipping his coffee as he wondered if he was going to sell this house or keep it. It was now the scene of the worst moment in his life but it also held so many happy memories of him and little Anita.

Over the past two years he had wished so many times to go back and spend more time with her. He had visited frequently after leaving for college but now it felt like not frequently enough. Derych came up behind him and asked “can I do anything?”

“No, just relax with a cup of coffee”

Chapter Two

“You mad at me?”

“Don’t worry about it, lets just drink our coffee and get the day started.”

Craig and Gary made their way over to Milan’s, Gary carrying the tupperware container full of cookies since he wanted to be the one to give them to Milan. Craig hated the sad look on his son’s face and wished there was something he could do to ease the boy’s pain, but he knew from experience that losing someone close to you was not easy to get over. “Do you think he’ll like these?” Gary asked.

“Of course.” He smiled warmly at his son. “And if he doesn’t we’ll eat them.” They both stopped in front of Milan’s parents house, Gary swallowing the lump in his throat. Craig gave him a moment then squeezed his shoulder. They walked up to the front door and Craig knocked. It was answered by Milan’s friend Derych who looked between the both of them. “Sorry to interrupt, but my son and I were wondering if we might speak to Milan.”

“Oh sure, sorry. Milan, company.”

A moment later Milan came to the front door and Craig frowned at the depressed look on his face. “Hey, what are you two doing here?”

Gary held up the cookies. “We made these for you.”

“And we wanted to know if we could help.” Craig added.

“thank you guys, you’re Gary right? I think i met you once when I came home”

“yeah, I said hi to you at Anitas funeral too”

“Oh, sorry buddy. I was a little out of it”

“it’s okay, I hope you enjoy the cookies. I worked really hard on them for Anita” Craig saw Milan fight his face to not form a deep frown “what?”

“last time Anita and I played together she told me her mom was going to help her make cookies for you. At her funeral I promised I would do it for her with my daddy.” Milan didn’t want to break down in front of Craig or Gary, especially when Gary was doing somthing so kind and thoughtful for his sister and for him. “thank you so much, please come in..have some with me” he managed to say without any tears. Derych set the table and everyone else sat. “we’ll seriously help with anything” Craig said “thanks, if I think of somthing I’ll let you know. The house is perfect, I’ve been paying people to tend to it while I was away and couldn’t make myself come here. Now really I need to decide what I’m going to do with everything. I know for a fact I’m selling most of my parents crap but…I just..ggod I’m sorry” he said then rubbed his face with his hands “I’m not sure what I’m going to do with Anitas belongings or if I’m going to keep the house atall. I’ve got plenty of money to buy any house I’d like since I’ve inherited my fathers company”

“My Milan?’ Gary said “yes?”

“I gave Anita a friendship bracelet and a dinosaur toy. Can I have those to put in my room as memories of her?”

“Of course you can buddy, go right on up. When you’re in there if theres anything else you gave her you want take it. I’m sure she’d want you to have it back

“Okay.” Gary ran upstairs as Milan picked up a cookie and took a bite. He felt himself choke up and rested his forehead in the palm of his other hand.

“You okay?” Craig asked as he reached over and rubbed Milan’s back.

“Sorry, just these cookies really taste like my mom’s. I feel so stupid.”

“It’s okay, if you need to cry then cry, it’s not good to hold it in.” Craig said in a comforting tone. Milan waved off the idea and Craig sighed, pulling him into a hug so his heart leaped in his chest. “Don’t hold it in, it’s important to let your emotions out. If you bottle them up, you’ll just end up exploding and you’re not human so that would be bad.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m not either, I can smell you’re different, kind of wolfish.”

“Kind of.” He pulled out of the warmth of Craig’s arms. “Thank you.”

“Anytime you need to talk about what happened here or cry or both, you can come see me. I live just down the street.”

“I will probably be taking you up on that. Derych is here for now but he has other obligations too. You and Gary are welcome here anytime but I have been having bad issues with my temper. I’ve been going to anger management and was doing well but being in this house seems to have thrown that all away. Just walking past her room kills me, knowing she’ll never come out with that smile again…knowing she died because my father had the same temper I do..”

“Thats why you should let yourself cry all you need to Milan. It doesn’t make you less of a man” wanting a subject change Milan asked “what are you if that isn’t too personal”

“an Ophiotaurus”

“part bull and part serpent right?’

“yep”

“Your son is human, how is that so?”

“I adopted him. I really wanted a kid and as a gay man I couldn’t just wait for the right woman to come along” Craig said with a smile, pleased when Milan smiled in return “I’m gay too”

“Lucky me” slipped out of Craigs mouth. It made him instantly feel like an ass. Milan was drop dead gorgeous but he was just coming back to the home where his father killed his mother, sister and then himself. It was the most disgusting time to flirt with anybody “I am so sorry, seriously. That was rude considering. It just slipped out.”

Milan laughed, feeling some of his sadness slip away. “It’s okay, it happens.” It actually didn’t feel bad having Craig say something like that anyway, it made his heart do a little flip and his cheeks warm.

A couple of minutes later Gary came downstairs with a few things and showed them to Milan. “Is it alright if I take these?” Aside from the bracelet and the dinosaur he had asked for, there was a picture of Gary and Anita, the bunny Anita had slept with, and a coloring book.

“Yeah, like I said, take all you want.”

“I didn’t give her these most of these, but she always shared them with me so…”

Milan patted his head. “Take them.”

“Thank you so much.”

“Are you really sure you don’t need any help, Gary and I can stay for as long as you need us too?” Craig said with a warm smile.

“Yeah, I’m sure, leave your number and address though.” Milan sighed. “I should probably start going through things. Maybe if I take an actual look around, I’ll be able to decide what I want to do.”

“I mean, I could help you make choices. If you want me to go I’ll go, I’m not trying to be pushy”

“No, that might be nice. Thanks”

“Okay, I’ll walk my son home and call his nanny”

“alright” Milan walked Craig to the door then turned to Derych “Now you aren’t stuck dealing with me on your own”

“I wasn’t stuck to begin with but when he gets back I’m going to take care of some stuff while you wont be alone”

“alright, thanks again and…I hate to bring up an awkward situation but if you meant what you said and I’ve somehow lead you on..I’m sorry”

“No no no, seriously. I was just trying to snap you out of it”

“Okay”

“don’t stress about things like that. You’ve got enough on your plate”

“You’ve just been a really good friend to me and I would have felt like a prick if I’d inadvertently played with your feelings”

“and that is why I’m here for you. You’re a good man Milan” Milan sighed and Derych closed the distance between them, wrapping Milan tightly in a hug “everythings going to be okay. You’re going to heal one day. Deciding what to do with this house is a big part of that. Also, when you do Anitas room, just make sure you have somebody with you, anybody. Just don’t try to deal with her things on your own”

“I wont”

“Good, I’ll see you later okay.”

“Okay.” Milan waited by the door then stood on the porch as he pulled away, waving goodbye to his friend. He decided to sit outside and get some fresh air until Craig returned, not wanting to be alone in the house. He wrapped his arms around his knees and rested his head on his arms, closing his eyes, feeling exhausted already.

“Hey, you asleep?” He jerked awake at Craig’s voice and the gentle hand on his back.

“Oh man, I can’t believe I just went and passed out on the porch.”

Craig’s warm smile once again crossed his face. “You have a lot to deal with. Would you like to stay out here a little longer?”

“No, I’m fine.” He got to his feet, his back a little sore from staying in the same position. “I can’t keep putting things off.”

Craig grabbed his arm and stepped in a little closer. “Don’t push yourself Milan, just take it one moment at a time, baby steps. No one will fault you for hesitating. I don’t think I could ever step foot in my house again if anything happened to Gary. I’d probably die.”

“do you think I should sell this place?”

“I dont want to make that decision for you”

“but I want to know what you would do.”

“I think I’d sell it. Maybe you can find another house in town if you want to live here but I dont know if it would be a good idea to live in this one” Milan nodded “I’ll take that into consideration.” The first place Milan guided Craig to was his fathers old office. “Here is easy, my father and I never had similar tastes so even if I do want a home office I’d want everything to be different. I want to donate everything in here to Goodwill”

“have you called them?”

“I wanted to have more of an idea of everything I wanted to get rid of first”

“as okay, so office, done, ready for the next room?”

“yeah” They kept at it until lunch arrived “why dont you let me take you out for chinese?” Craig asked “sure, sounds good. We’ll take my car” Milan found his keys then they both left the house. Craig gave Milan directions to his favorite chinese place and they went inside. “Hope youll like it”

“Chinese anywhere is normally good” Craig smiled and they were soon seated. They ordered their drinks and Craig asked “so how are you feeling?”

“okay”

“well, somthing came to mind as I helped today. I wanted to ask you if you wanted to spend the night at my place tonight so you don’t have to sleep there. It has to be horrible”

“I…it’s just…” he sighed, “No, you’re right of course. I shouldn’t be alone.”

“Are you sure, I’m not trying to force you, I just want you in a more positive environment.”

“Yeah, thank you.” They ordered their food then ate in silence, not really sure what to talk about. The biggest thing going on in Milan’s life was dealing with the constant reminder of what his father had done and the circumstances leading up to it. He didn’t want the conversation to keep going there. “Sorry I’m not talking much.”

“It’s okay, it’s understandable.”

“It’s rude, especially when you’re being so great.”

“What do you want to talk about then?”

Milan thought about it. “Have you ever had a mate?”

“Not really, you?”

“No, Derych and I dated for awhile, but we broke up.”

Craig smiled though he felt a little jealous. “I thought you guys were close.”

“Not anymore, there’s nothing there anymore. We’re just friends, he’s actually a good guy.”

Chapter Three

“that’s good to hear.”

“so, how old is Gary?” Milan tried. Craig smiled “ten”

“does he have a lot of friends?”

“yeah, he’s a popular boy”

“I know Anita thought the world of him”

“I actually thought they might end up together when they were older” Milan nodded and Craig worried “so um, did you enjoy the pizza?”

“yeah, thanks for it again” They managed small talk through the meal. When it was time to go Craig said “maybe we should take a nice break for the day. We can call goodwill and set it up for them to come tomorrow and collect everything you want to donate.”

“Sounds good, I do feel like I need air.” Milan looked up the nearest Goodwills number then set up the appointment “taken care of” he said as he slid his phone in his pocket. “good, want to go hangout with my son or go somwhere just with me?” Milan blushed “your son, I’d like to get to know him better” Craig smiled, loving his embarrassment. “Okay, lets go” They got back in the car and drove straight to Craigs home.

Upon arriving Milan looked up at the meduim sized townhouse with a smile, it was nice. It reminded him of his grandmothers house which looked similar but smaller and more cottage like, it gave him a genuine smile and he felt better instantly “love your house, it’s beautiful” and it honestly was, the white picket fence had ivy entwined through the gaps and gave it this almost fantasy story tale look, the yard seemed to have collected all Gary’s toys and had began eating them as the grass had needed to be cut. There were Easter colored eggs and bunnies window stickers haphazardly stuck to the windows clearly done by a child’s hand which reminded him of Anita but spared him the pain. He followed Craig up the path and onto the pourch once more admiring the look similar to his grandmother’s home, the inset pourch held a two person swing and a few deck chairs but the glass table with the cactus sitting in the middle most resembled what he had remembered from hia childhood at his grandparents and he decided to make a point by saying so “I really do love your house, it reminds me so much of my grandmothers, is makes me happy and my heart warm”
Craig turned to look at him in the doorway “well thank you I’m really glad you like it, we bought it for a decent price due to some remodeling issues but we fixed those up ourselves” he smiled with pride and gestured for Milan to go first into the house which let into a hallway, the livingroom opening up to the right and the kitchen to the left. Milan moved down the hallway glancing at the pictures that hung on the wall getting lost in the stories they seemed to show; Gary running around the yard with a big black elderly looking dog. Craig and Gary at the pizzeria eating a pizza as big as them. It startled Milan when Craig called out behind him “Gary I’m home and I’ve brought Mr Milan along with me, where you at bud”
The child’s reply came from the kitchen as he stuck his head around the corner “oh hey dad I made some more cookies” the evidence was clear by the flour on his face and bits of cookie around his mouth, Gary disappeared back around the corner and Milan followed him with an amused smile.
Upon rounding into the kitchen Craig blew out a breath as flour decorated the floor, countertops, wall and even the ceiling showed signs of the abuse “ah what kind of cookies are they bud?”
“Don’t know dad they’re a special recipe I came up with” Craig arched an eyebrow as he watched his boy vigorously dump onion powder and chocolate chips into the mixing bowl and looked at Milan who seemed amused by his sons antics and looked at Craig with a grin “why don’t we save this cookie making for later and go to the beach?”

“Alright I guess.”

Milan sat in the living room while Craig got Gary cleaned off and changed. “We’ll clean up the mess when we get back.” Craig said as they came from the hallway.

“Are you sure, because I can help.”

“You will do no such thing, you’re a guest. Come on, we’re taking my car.”

Milan sat in the passenger seat, staring out the window as Gary chattered to his father. “Milan, hey Milan.” He jerked his head up and looked in the back seat. “Sorry, what’s up?”

“How long are you going to stay with us?”

“Oh, well it was just going to be tonight.”

“Couldn’t you stay for more than one? You could come over every night after…well after you know.”

“Well…”

“We’ll talk about it later.” Craig said with a smile, not wanting to push too much on Milan right now.

When they made it to the beach, both Craig and Gary took their shoes and socks off. Milan followed suit and Craig made sure the doors were locked before they headed down to the edge of the water. They all rolled up their pant legs then Gary took both of their hands. It felt good to be out in the cool air, the scent of the salty ocean water was refreshing and helped clear Milan’s head. “Thank you for bringing me.” He said softly.

“It’s the least I could do, everyone needs to stretch their legs sometimes.”

They enjoyed their time, searching for shells and starfish. Gary’s laughter as he played with Craig, brought Milan a measure of peace and by the time they were ready to go home, he felt happier than he had since losing his sister. Gary yawned from the back seat and Craig gave a little chuckle. “What?” Milan asked.

“Five minutes and he’ll be asleep. Every time we go to the beach, he falls asleep.”

“I don’t blame him, the beach always makes me drowsy too.” He suddenly frowned. “Anita loved the beach, she was the same way.”

Craig grabbed his hand. “It’s okay, be sad if you need too.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Well, even if you say that, I’ll still be here. Even if you explode, I won’t leave you.”

A small smile appeared on Milans face as warmth moved through him. Craig was such a light in the darkness he had found himself in since getting that call early one morning before school. This was honestly the calmest and happiest he had been since that day. It was almost confusing to Milan how one man and little boy could bring such happiness but what he knew now was he didn’t want to lose these two from his life. Now more than ever he hoped his temper wouldn’t be the ruin of a relationship. Just as Craig had predicted Gary was sound asleep when they returned to Craigs home. Craig gently lifted his son from the car and took his to his bedroom.

“he’s so cute” Milan said when Craig returned to him. “I know, I’ve been considering adopting another” he said as he sat down on the couch. Milan sat too as he asked “around the same age as Gary?”

“yeah, If I definitely decide to I’ll ask if he wants a brother or sister then get a kid around his age.”

“that would be nice, especially considering the fact once a kid turns five in the foster system they have almost no chance of being adopted since everybody wants babies.”

“yeah, thats another reason I’ve been considering it.”

“You’re really an amazing man Craig” Craig chuckled “Oh, I’m not all that great. I just like being a father”

“If my father had been as good as you then maybe…”

Craig placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t beat yourself up Milan. What he did was monstrous and in no way your fault.”

“But if I had been here…”

Craig pulled him into a tight hug. “It wasn’t your fault Milan, you couldn’t have known he would retaliate in such a manner.”

“But I’m just like him, my temper is so short. What if one day I blow a fuse and hurt someone important to me? I would never be able to forgive myself.”

Craig ran a hand up and down Milan’s back. “Hush now, you are nothing like that. You may have a short temper, not that I would know though, but you have such a tender heart. I don’t believe for a second you would go off and kill anyone in a rage.”

Milan leaned over, resting his head on Criags shoulder, hoping it was okay. Craig rested his head on his which made Milans heart flutter, especially since Craig was still rubbing his back. He felt so much comfort in this moment. All of his anger and sadness were miles away. What an anger management specialist couldn’t do in all their sessions Craig was doing simply with his touch, keeping him calm as he thought of his family. Due to being worn out from emotion and the beach Milan fell asleep without even realize. Craig smiled, gently caressing his back a few minuets longer to make sure he was sleeping then lifted him up to take to his guest bed. He considered taking Milan to his own room so they could cuddle but Craig knew to indulge that desire would be taking advantage.

He simply laid Milan down and kissed his cheek “You are far from a monster Milan” he whispered before leaving. When Milan woke he sat up quickly, confused by where he was. Soon his hazy brain came into focus and he realized he was in Craigs home. His best guess was that this was the room Craig had offered him. Milan felt embarrassed he fell asleep so it took him awhile to get up and let Craig know he was indeed awake now. “rest well? Craig asked and Milan rubbed his right arm “yeah, sorry”

Milan had found Criag in the kitchen finishing up his sons mess, Craig rinsed the rag he had used to wipe down the flour in the sink “don’t worry about it Milan, you needed your rest, would you care for something to drink?” Craig wrung out the rag and tossed it in the laundry room off the left of the kitchen and went to grab cups from the cupboard. Milan rubbed the sleep from his eyes and gave a small stretch “if you have some tea that would be great” Milan listened for Gary and arched an eyebrow turning back to Criag who was digging out some tea boxes for options. “Where’s Gary?”
Craig turned to look at Milan where he stood by the fridge “oh he’s at school, should be home in a few hours, what kind of tea would you like?” He lined up the boxes so they could be clearly read “we have green tea, pomegranate, chai, black and raspberry lemon which is more of an iced tea” he looked up at Milan who was obviously contemplating his choices, Craig smiled at him admiring his decent looks as Milan selected the raspberry lemon upon inspecting the box with the fresh fruits enlarged for detail on the front “that looks amazing plus it’s getting hot out” Milan looked up into Craigs eyes and gave an embarrassed smile blushing at how closely Craig was examining his face.
Craig beamed at Milans choice and moved to make it “it’s one of my favorites and Gary’s too, he likes it with his sandwiches and often even a salad.”
It was now Milans turn to watch Craig as he went to work pulling out a pitcher and some ice from the freezer, he liked how Criag moved with such confidence and elegance he seemed almost like he was dancing slowly as he moved about the kitchen avoiding bumping into the center island.

Chapter Four

When the tea was ready, he poured a glass for Milan then himself and handed one over. Milan took a sip and smiled his thank you. “Gary seems quite taken with you.” Craig said, leaning against the kitchen counter.

“I noticed.”

“You’re all he could talk about this morning. Can we take mister Milan to our favorite candy store, can we go visit Anita with mister Milan, do you think mister Milan would come to our Easter play?”

“He’s a sweet kid.”

“So what should we do today as far as the house?”

“I don’t know, I’d like to pack up photos and important stuff like that.”

Craig nodded. “You could keep the boxes of things you want to keep here in the basement.” Milan nodded then drank some of his tea. A silence grew between then then Craig said, “We’ll save Anita’s room for last.” That still seemed like such a daunting task to Milan, his heart constricting at the idea of stepping foot into Anita’s space, but he just nodded. He knew he would have to face going in there sooner or later.

“Okay, Goodwill is still coming at eleven”

“I’ll run out and pick us all up some pizza from CiCis then. That way we can feed the people who come for the stuff” Milan smiled “sounds good, how’s your business?”

“It’s going well, I picked a good location. I get lots of teenagers. How’re you handling your fathers insurance company? Its a pretty large provider”

“I truly don’t do all that much but I plan to be more involved now that I’m out of school. I hired more people and promoted whom the higher ups told me would be good fits so they wouldn’t need me much while I had my classes. I had a pretty heavy class load.”

“I’ve got a fund for Gary incase he decides to go to college. I’m going to nudge him in that direction anyway” They talked and relaxed for awhile longer before Craig excused himself to change out of his pajama pants and into some jeans. Once he was ready they walked back to Milans and began taking pictures and decorations down Milan wanted until the Goodwill drivers came. Craig hugged Milan “I’ll be back in no time” Milan didn’t want Craig to leave but acted unbothered, he’d be guiding these movers anyway.

He showed them the rooms where things had been packed, making sure they didn’t set a foot in Anita’s. Craig returned a little while later with enough pizza and soda to feed everyone. Milan was so relieved to have him back that he gave Craig a hug. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just needed a hug.”

Craig smiled warmly and affectionately patted his head. “Take as many as you need.”

When the movers had half the job done Craig called for them to take a break and eat. They thanked him, eating their fill as they took a breather. They got back to work as soon as they were finished and made quick work of the other half of what Milan was giving away.

When the men left it was odd for Milan to see this house so empty. His parents had lived in it long before he was ever born so this was the first time he saw it so bare. Craig put a hand on his shoulder “Now I just need to call some friends and see if they’ll help us move what you’re keeping into my basement. Only after we do that will we go into Anitas room okay?’

“Okay” They locked up then went back to Craigs to make sure they were there when his son got home. When they walked in the door Craig said “just watch TV while I make my calls. I’ll try not to be long” Milan hugged him again and Craig couldn’t help but smile as he relished how good it felt to hug Milan. When he broke the hug Milan walked to the living room and found the remote.Craig didn’t have any trouble finding friends that would help so Milan wasn’t alone for long before Craig came in and sat down next to him. “all done, they’ll be here tomorrow right after Gary goes to school so we can work then go out to eat together.”

“Thank you so much Craig” Craig benevolently took Milans hand in his and stroked it with his thumb “it’s no trouble” Their eyes met and stayed captive by one anothers until Gary walked in “hey dad!” Milan could have gotten whip lash with how fast he looked away. Craig frowned a little then got up to hug his son “hey buddy, how was school?”

“Fun, can you help me with my math homework? I don’t understand what the teacher was trying to teach me today”

“Alright, want to knock it out now so we can just have fun with Mr Milan? I’ll take us out to icecream” Garys face lit up in the most adorable way ‘yeah, come on!” he looked at Milan “will you sit with us?”

“sure” Milan answered and followed them to the kitchen table. Milan rested his chin in his palm as he enjoyed watching the two. Craig really was an amazing father and Milan had no doubt he could take care of two if he decided to get Gary a brother or sister. Craig was seeming to struggle getting Gary to understand one of the concepts so Milan tried, hoping he wasn’t over stepping. Gary actually got it after he attempted and Craigs heart warmed, giving Milan an adoring smile. When all the homework was done Craig took them out for icecream just as he had promised.

The ice cream parlor was family owned and simple. It had pink, white and purple tiled floors with walls that painted with adorable animals eating icecream. An asian woman asked from behind the counter “usual Gary?”

“yes please” she smiled and scooped his icecream before attending to Craig and Milan. Icecream in hand they sat down at a purple table with pink umbrella to enjoy their sweets. Gary started telling Milan about all his friends and what school was like between licks. Milan honestly enjoyed it. Gary was so sweet and the thought of being with Craig and being this boys other father danced across his mind. When they finished Gary asked “I still have some birthday money left dad and a new game I really want came out today. I was hoping you’d take me to Gamestop and pay the difference, please” his adorable little face contorting into somthing that made it nearly impossible to say no. “you’ve been doing really good in school so sure. Just remember the rule about school nights”

Gary seemed like he might burst from the excitement as they drove to Gamestop. Gary quickly grabbed his game and rushed over to a register to pay for it. Gary gave his money first then Craig paid the difference for him. When they got home Gary said ‘this has two player, can we all play?” Craig looked at Milan who said “I will but I’ll probably suck. I dont play a lot of video games”

“It’s okay Milan, dad and I will help you get better” Milan smiled “Okay then”

As predicted he wasn’t doing very well, but Gary encouraged him to keep going while Craig sat between them with a smile on his face. To Milan, it felt nice being part of a family again. His phone vibrated in his pocket and he quickly pulled it out. Upon seeing it was Derych he handed the controller to Craig and excused himself so as not to disturb their fun. “What’s up?” He asked one he was alone.

“Just checking up on you. How’s everything going at the house?”

“Good, donated most of the stuff to Goodwill, packed up what I wanted to keep, Craig’s letting me keep it here.”

“Anita’s room?”

“We haven’t done it yet, we were saving it for last.”

“Just don’t try it alone, make sure Craig is there.”

Milan gave a small chuckle. “I don’t think he’d let me anyway.”

“Alright then, I’ll let you go.” They hung up and Milan went back to playing video games. Craig called for it to be turned off when it was Gary’s bedtime and his son actually let a small groan slip out. Craig couldn’t help but smile, happy that his boy loved Milan so much. Gary said goodnight, giving both of them hugs then headed to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

“Did you have fun?” Craig asked and Milan nodded with a smile on his face.

“Thank you for doing all of this for me, for letting me stay here and making me feel better.”

“I don’t need thanks. Are you ready for Anita’s room?”

Milan shook his head, feeling himself choke up again. “No, but I need to take care of it.” Craig moved a little closer and let his fingers brush over Milan’s cheek.

“It’s okay.” He slipped his fingers over the nape of Milan’s neck and Craig pulled him so his head rested on his shoulder. “We’ll get through it together.”

“You better stop being so nice, I might get spoiled.”

Craig chuckled and shrugged. “I don’t mind, I just like seeing you smile.”

Milan wrapped his arms around Craig and pulled him tightly against his body for a hug. Craig smiled, holding Milan gently and enjoying the moment. It was Milan who broke the silence between them “I guess I should go to bed”

“how was it last night?’

“Comfortable”

“ah okay”

“you say that like you’re disappointed I was comfortable” Craig laughed “No, I’m glad you were. If you want since you’re going through a hard time we could watch somthing together and I could carry you to bed when you fall asleep” Milan blushed “why would you do that?”

“I’m sure sleeping hasn’t been easy”

“No, it hasn’t. I think too much”

“then watch somthing with me until you fall asleep and I’ll take you to bed.”

“sounds nice if you really don’t mind”

“I insist, in fact we could watch it in my room tonight so you’ll be more comfortable. Unless it would be weird to be in my bed” Milans heart ran rapid, his cheeks flushed and embarrassment at the knowledge Craig knew all this washed over Milan and he couldn’t form words. He had always been the tough one in relationships, never wanted to do much cuddling, never emotional but Craig was a whole other story. He didn’t know if it was being back here or Craig himself but this was so far from how he normally was. Craig took his hand “we can go downstairs”

“No, um” he cleared his throat “your bed would probably be more comfortable” Craig tugged Milan into his bedroom and turned on his TV to find a good movie on demand. Milan nervously sat down on the bed as he tried to calm himself.

Craig got comfortable then reached over and grabbed Milan’s hand. “Come here.”

“Okay.” Milan replied softly and scooted across the bed where Craig pulled him into his arms.

“You just relax okay and try to sleep. I’ll be right here if you need anything.”

“Okay, thank you.”

Craig stroked his fingers up and down Milan’s arm, the slow, almost hypnotic movement helping him to relax fully. His eyelids started to droop and he snuggled closer, letting the warmth of Craig’s body take him away. Craig smiled warmly down at Milan when he heard his breathing soften and his body go limp. “You must be exhausted.” He stroked some hair out of Milan’s face and kissed his forehead. “Sweet dreams Milan.”

Chapter Five

The last thing Craig wanted to do was disturb Milans sleep so he decided against carrying him into the guest bedroom. He would just rest sitting up and enjoying the way Milan made him feel when they were so close. Every fiber of him reacted to Milan in the most mind boggling ways. He wanted to kiss Milan, truly kiss him. He wanted to allow his teeth to pull down that lower lip and find out what his mouth tasted like as he gently massaged it with his tongue. Craig felt himself get half hard and stopped those thoughts in their tracks. He let his mind wander to more G rated material as he slowly became lost to whatever his mind conjured up in his sleep state.

The next morning Milan was surprised to wake up still being held by Craig but what he mostly felt was happy he wasn’t alone. Milan glanced at the clock and saw it was six am so he quietly got up, went to the bathroom then headed downstairs for a drink. It startled him as he sat down to enjoy it when Craigs alarm went off, no doubt to get his son ready for school. He listened as Craig shambled out of bed then woke his son. When Craig came down he wore a bright smile “sleep well?”

“yeah, thanks”

“anytime, seriously” When Gary was off to school Craig asked ‘you can shower in the hall bathroom or my bathroom and I’ll take the other”

“I’ll do the hall” Craig nodded since he had a mouth full of coffee. Milan grabbed his bag from the guest room and brought it into the hall bathroom so he wouldn’t have to walk out in nothing but a towel. Craig guessed and thought the modesty was adorable, especially in a man who obviously didn’t have any reason to be modest.

Milan thought about how the day was going to go as she showered. Going into Anita’s room was going to be the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. He had no more excuses, not when the house had been cleaned out of all he wanted and didn’t want. Her room was all that was left. He finished up and stepped out, quickly drying then getting dressed and doing his hair then brushing his teeth. When he stepped out of the hall bathroom, his ears picked up the sound of Craig’s shower so he just went downstairs to wait. He made himself a cup of coffee and wandered around the house, thinking of how happy he would be if he could stay here forever. He shook his head. He was a broken young man with anger issues he still clearly wasn’t over. Sooner or later, Craig’s patience would wear thin.

“You alright?” Craig asked as he passed through the kitchen on the way to the laundry room.

“Fine.” He replied then blinked when he realized Craig was shirtless. “Totally fine.”

“I forgot I haven’t folded the clean laundry.”

Craig felt Milans eyes on him until he walked out of sight. Though he wasn’t trying to show off his body Craig wished he could exchange a show for a show but then again, if he got his topless show he would hunger for more and Craig was already struggling to keep his appetite at bay. He wanted to feel, see and explore every dip, curve and muscle that made up his body. There was so much to taste and feel, to writhe against as they pleasured eachother. “fuck” he said in his head as his snake decided to jump up. “he thought of disgusting things until it went down and he could come back out with his shirt. “so, you ready? I texted my friends and told them to wait until tomorrow to help us move the stuff you decided to keep over here. I mean, there will be stuff in Anitas room anyway and I’m sure you don’t want to experience going in there with other people around”

“yeah, thank you” They walked over to Milans house and up to Anitas bedroom door hand in hand “you sure you’re ready? You’re in no hurry to sell this house Milan”

“If I put it off now I’ll always put it off. I’ve already put this off for two years” Craig kissed Milans cheek “you’re strong enough for this” It took a few minuets but eventually Milan used his free hand to open his sisters bedroom door. Seeing the pink and white of the room made his heart tremble but he walked in anyway. His thoughts were a mess as he looked at everything. On the walls hung pictures of him and other family members but the ones that really choked him up were of him holding her as a baby and another of the time they fell asleep together on the couch and their mom snapped a picture. So many memories were flooding him and all he could do was sit on her bed and sob for her loss.

Craig sat down beside him and wrapped Milan in a hug “I’m sorry, I’ll collect all the pictures. I know you want those.” Craig got up and took all the pictures down and walked out to set them on his keeping pile. They worked like this until the room was empty. When Milan could manage they decided on things and when he couldn’t Craig just held him. Milan was glad they finished about an hour before Gary came home from school so he’d have time to calm down. His face was probably a mess for the rest of the day but he had time to pull himself together.

That night Craig invited Milan into his room again and Milan was grateful, he didn’t want to be alone tonight after such a horrible day. This time Craig laid flat so Milan rested his head on Craigs chest. Lovingly Craig rubbed Milan in various ways to help him sleep. No matter how long it took Milan to heal Craig planned to be there for him. He didn’t care how long it took Milan inexplicably meant the world to Craig. He wanted to be his lover when he knew he was of sound enough mind to make that choice and make it because he actually wants it.

~ The End ~

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