If you’ve been following Jack and Ethan’s love story, thank you! I hope you continue to enjoy them as much as I do. If you are new around here, rest assured you do not have to go back to read the first 11 chapters (But you’re going to completely regret it if you don’t!!). Chapters 1-7 were written as a Part One, chapters 8-11 are Part Two, and these next chapters, 12-15 are what I consider to be Part Three, about a year and a half jump from where we left them after their wedding.
Also, if you’re following Connor and Afia, parts of Connor’s story is weaved into the next couple of chapters so you’ll see their individual HEA’s as well.
As always, it’s a love story first with erotic scenes in between. Please continue to let me know your thoughts.
“School sucks!” six-year-old EJ said, slamming his homework book on the table, pouting in frustration.
Jack raised his eyebrow. “Don’t let your dad hear you talk like that. What do you need help with?”
EJ’s words came tumbling out, “I keep miscounting the dots, and then I have to start all over because it’s not neat but it’s not my fault it’s the eraser fault making all these stupid lines and why do I have to do homework can’t I just use my homework pass from last week?”
Jack sighed. “Let’s start from the beginning, why are you miscounting the dots?” He walked over to the table to see what EJ was doing. As he was helping his son with his homework, his phone rang and it was Mina.
“Soooo…I have a situation here. Can you come down to the hospital?” she said evasively.
“You want me to drive to Providence right now?” Jack asked. “I’m here at the Inn with EJ and Ethan is at The Residence.”
Mina puffed out air exasperatedly. “OK, can you just tell me one thing. Do you have a couple there, a Mr and Mrs. Byers staying there with their 16 year old daughter?”
“Ummm…why? Because you know technically I can’t give out that information, Sis.”
Mina exhaled again. “We have a pregnant female here claiming to be 16 years old, who says that she is staying at the B&B in Rockville with her parents. And she described it inside and out so she’s been there before, I’m sure of it. I just don’t think she is here with her parents at all, although she keeps insisting she is.”
Jack chuckled. “We aren’t harboring any 16-year-old pregnant runaways here if that’s what you are asking. What’s her name?”
Mina said smugly, “Well technically I can’t give out that information.” Jack laughed. “That’s why I need you to come down here! Because if she recognizes you from the B&B then I know she’s not lying. But if she doesn’t, then I’m calling social services.”
“Well, can it wait? Is she admitted or just being seen?”
“She is going to be admitted under observation for the night. She came in complaining of stomach cramping that turned out to be Braxton Hicks. Because she’s 16, anything relating to her pregnancy is within her right to privacy and we don’t need any parental consent.
“But when I asked her where her parents were, she immediately said the B&B on Montour Street in Rockville. That she is staying with her parents and they were passing through on their way back to Massachusetts.”
“Braxton Hicks? How far along is she?”
Mina sighed again. “By her size, 34-35 weeks at least is my guess. She’s about ready to pop any moment now.”
Jack was thoughtful. “Well I’ll come by to help you solve a mystery later on. How long are you there?”
“I’m off at 8pm. Can you get here before then?”
“Yea, let me text Ethan and let him know.”
“Thanks, little bro.” She hung up.
EJ asked, “Papa, what are boxing hiccups?”
“Dude, focus on your dots, ok?”
Ethan walked through the second story hallway of The Residence. The A through E side was completely finished and the F through J side was nearly done. He opened apartment 2B with his key and looked around. It was a standard one bedroom apartment, open floor plan with the island kitchen separating it from the living room area, and a small balcony that overlooked the courtyard. He looked around at the craftsmanship from the crown moldings, the sleekness of the paint job and was thoroughly impressed. Hiring Jones Maintenance and Construction- JMC, LLC, to do the work was the best decision he could have ever made.
He went to the balcony doors and looked out. It was the first week of February and snow was falling lightly on the ground so he did not dare open it. Before the winter hit, Jack and EJ planted two apple trees in the grassy areas on each side. The trees will grow large and eventually give some level of privacy which some residents will appreciate. He still had not decided on whether he was keeping the pool or not, but that decision will come later. Getting the place open by St. Patty’s Day, or Move-In Day as he calls it, was the goal and further construction would certainly push it back.
Everything in his life was falling into place, he thought contently. He remembered just four years ago coming bahis şirketleri to Rockville with his then two-year-old son EJ and all he wanted at the time was a quiet place to raise his son. He remembered his life being so filled with worry: worried about making such a big move, worried about finances, worried about being a single parent, worried about his son being okay after all he had been through.
He also remembered arguing with the garbage kid almost weekly. He smiled at that. If someone would have told him that the person he despised the most at that time would end up being the love of his life, he would have laughed in their face. Not that guy. Not that arrogant, silly, rude asshole whose only endearing quality was that his toddler found him amusing.
But somehow they became friends. And then they became lovers. Then marriage. And now he could not imagine his life without him.
Sure, he was attractive. No, not just attractive. Jack is gorgeous. Hot. Sexy. From that thick black hair that has never managed to just lay flat to those heart stopping green eyes; that dimpled smile and that perfect runner’s body of his. Ethan lucked out that the hottest guy in town also happened to be very gay. People have literally told him that. But Jack was also kind and empathetic, trustworthy and dependable, loyal and loving.
He’s also kind of a killer, but that was neither here nor there in Ethan’s mind. For Jack it was justified and he couldn’t argue with the circumstances around it. As far as Ethan was concerned that was all behind them now, but he knew deep down that Jack would defend and protect his family from anyone that would try to do them harm to the fullest extent.
Maybe a part of him liked the idea that Jack has played loose with his morals. He’s even joked with him that Jack was his own personal Dexter, a mild mannered respectable member of the community by day, murderer by night. But the other part of him was afraid. Not afraid of him, but afraid for him. Jack was calm, cool and collected in all situations, until he wasn’t calm at all and Ethan had to physically restrain him. Even though it had only happened once or twice over the years, those were the moments that scared him the most.
Where Ethan may have a short fuse and flips out easily, Jack’s fuse is long and attached to dynamite. It takes a lot to bring him there but when it does Ethan ends up screaming at him that Red Jackie, what he calls that angry and violent part of Jack, needs to die before his alter ego gets Jack Frazier killed. They never come to a resolution about it and end up having rough, angry sex and all is forgiven by morning.
Despite those moments, coming to Rockville changed his life and falling in love with Jack, marrying Jack and building his life with Jack has been a major part of that. They officially started their company, RedStar Corp, with the bed and breakfast, Inn Love at the B&B, under it and now this new building, The Starling Residence, as well. Maybe they’ll stop there or maybe he and Jack will buy another property and manage it, but that may come later on down the road. For now his life and his heart is full, his businesses are thriving and his son is happy. He couldn’t ask for anything else.
His phone buzzed pulling him out of his thoughts and it was his husband.
Jack: Hey E, what time are you heading back?
Ethan: Late tonight, no earlier than 9pm. You guys will have dinner again without me. Why?
Jack: Well could you make it earlier? Mina asked me to meet her in Providence. Apparently a 16-year-old runaway is claiming she is staying here at the Inn and I’m being used to catch her in a lie.
Ethan: Haha! Good luck with that. Yea, let me check in with Mel, let him know I’m leaving at 6pm instead of 9pm.
Jack: Good. It would be nice to see your face at the table for dinner. For once.
Ethan: Don’t be like that babe. It’s been a busy week for me.
Jack: Yea, busy for my right hand too. *hand emoji* *eggplant emoji* *crying face emoji*
[Ethan laughed out loud. He loved how crass his husband can be.] Ethan: Jesus Jackie Bear, it hasn’t been that long.
Jack: Yes it has. But we’ll talk about it later. Family Meeting tonight?
Ethan: Sure, Family Meeting tonight.
Ethan went to go find Jamel. He left him doing electrical work in the space that will eventually be the building manager’s office, whom he has yet to hire. Stacy Ferguson, who has been managing the Inn since its inception, was promoted to Supervising Manager of RedStar Corp and will oversee the operations for both, but he needs someone available full time at this property. He asked Liam Ferguson, her twin brother, but Liam is engaged to Jack’s sister June, and they are waiting for a couple of employment offers that will take her out of state, and of course, he will follow.
Ethan opened the door and could hear shuffling around before the door opened fully. Jamel was facing the tinted floor to ceiling glass windows and Connor was next to him, hands in his pockets and face flushed bahis firmaları as they both turned to see who was coming in. Ethan smiled at them.
“At ease, soldiers. It’s just me,” he said knowingly as he closed the door behind him.
They both smiled at him, then at each other. Jamel Jones, an Army veteran, was a tall, muscular, dark skinned African American man. He had a deep but soft voice and kind gray eyes. JMC,LLC was his family owned company run by his father, and he was the foreman for this particular site.
Connor McIntyre was one of Jack’s childhood best friends, a tall, blond haired, blue eyed Marine Corp veteran. As they have been together a little over two years, they were Ethan and Jack’s favorite couple to hang out with ever since Connor came out to his friends, and introduced Jamel to them last April on Jack’s birthday.
Ethan said, “Hey Mel, I just wanted to tell you I’m heading out early. Jack has an emergency of some sort and has to head into Providence.”
“That’s cool. Tyrell and the crew will be finished with the second floor in two days, then I’ll run through an inspection for the whole second floor while they complete downstairs. We’re on track,” Jamel told him. Ethan nodded.
Then Connor said, “I came here to give you this, E.” He handed Ethan a manila envelope which he opened and began to read as Connor explained.
“It’s the contract through Xfinity that my old boss put together, for internet and cable services here. Truthfully I negotiated him down a bit and got him to throw in a discount for phone services for anyone that wants a landline phone. Have your lawyer look over it, but it’s a solid deal, I promise you.”
“Connor, that’s incredible. Thank you,” Ethan said, scanning over the documents.
Connor shrugged. “Sure. They kept trying to get me to take my resignation back but I told them no. I got other things I’m focused on right now, like Vinnie’s Vet Buddies.”
A lightbulb went off in Ethan’s head and he instantly kicked himself for not thinking about it earlier. “Connor! Connor you’re not working after March 1st, why don’t you take the job as building manager?”
Connor’s eyebrow went up. “I will be working. Didn’t I just say I’m focused on my organization?”
Jamel gave Ethan a warning look which Ethan graciously received. He said apologetically, “Of course Con, I didn’t mean to belittle what you’re doing there at all. It’s important work, giving vets a lifeline when they need it most.”
He paused a bit, then said, “I just meant, if there is something you could do that would bring in more income for you and still give you the flexibility to run your organization, this would be it. I just need someone to run the leasing office a couple times a week, monitor the weekly janitorial and cleaning services and troubleshoot resident issues.”
Connor appeared to be thoughtful. He glanced over at Jamel who gave a look of approval, nodding his head. Ethan threw in, “It comes with health benefits if you work at least 32 hours a week. That’s six and a half hours a day that you can flex any way you want. And I’m working on getting a 401k plan for my employees. Nothing major but it’s something.”
“Can I think about it?” Connor asked. “Write up a job description and I’ll look over it.”
“Sure, I can do that,” Ethan said happily.
Connor turned to Jamel and said, “I’ll see you at home.” He looked like he wanted to lean in and changed his mind. But as he began to walk away Jamel gently grabbed his arm and pulled him closer. He kissed him softly on the lips, then rubbed their nostrils together.
“It’s just Ethan,” he said softly.
They looked at each other and then Connor reached out to touch his head and leaned in to kiss him back. “I’ll see you at home,” he said again.
Ethan smiled as Connor bumped his shoulder playfully and said, “Shut up” as he walked out. Ethan looked at Jamel who watched Connor leave, then turned back to the tinted glass and sighed, deep in thought.
Ethan came over and leaned on it. “How are you guys doing?”
“We’re great. It’s just… hard sometimes,” Jamel said.
“He still hasn’t told his family he’s gay?”
“No,” Jamel said. “I don’t think he has any intention to. Which, honestly I get. They aren’t good people at all. I’m just trying to figure out how to build a life with him under these conditions. I mean, we’re already doing it. But now that I’m in Rockville a lot, I feel like… I don’t know… like I can’t tell people who I am, in case it gets back to any of them.”
“Nah, you can’t be the one in the closest just because he is,” Ethan said.
“It’s not that simple. And he’s not really in the closet. His friends and those close to him know, like you two. And when we’re home in West Warwick or in Providence with my family, we don’t hide anything. He’s his normal happy, funny self. So it’s really just his parents and siblings, and the people here in this small town that don’t know.
“But it’s like the moment we cross the border into Hopkinton County, kaçak bahis siteleri he immediately changes into this… timid, shy, quiet person. And I know that’s because of them. And I don’t know how to help him.”
“You can’t. He has to figure it out on his own. You can either gently push him to come all the way out or maybe give him a little ultimatum.”
Jamel gave him a look. “You know I can’t push him on this. It has to be on his terms. And I can’t give him an ultimatum because he will call my bluff and try to walk away. I know it because he’s stubborn like that. And I can’t lose him. I can’t. He’s my whole world right now.” He sighed again.
Ethan understood, remembering his thoughts about Jack just a few moments ago. “Maybe I can get Jack to talk to him, find out where his head is at with this whole thing.”
Jamel shook his head. “He’s going to know I said something and it’s going to piss him off.”
“Well let him get pissed off,” Ethan said. “Maybe it will light a fire under him to want to do something about it, so he won’t lose you. He has to want this life with you just as much as you want it with him.”
“He does want it. I have no doubt about that. I think he’s just been living under his father’s thumb for so long, he doesn’t know how to get from under it.” Jamel sighed a third time. “I just want him to know that he deserves to be loved out in the open too, just like everyone else.”
Ethan touched his shoulder and patted it. “Hang in there. If it’s worth fighting for, it will all work itself out. Trust me, that much I know.”
“It’s worth it. He’s worth it.” Jamel said. He turned to Ethan. “And how are you and Jack?”
Ethan smiled. “We’re good. We’re great actually. No complaints at all, it’s pretty perfect.”
Jamel looked at him skeptically. “Pretty perfect? No problems at all?”
Ethan laughed. “Well other than the normal living together marital stuff. Like, Jack doesn’t know how to fold clothes. He does laundry and literally just rolls his shit up and puts it in the drawer. Every weekend I’m like dude, fold your shirts and he’s all like, ‘Dude they are folded’ and he shows me this sorry excuse for a fold. I’m like, you’re almost 27 years old and don’t know how to fold your clothes, what the fuck?
“I realized because while he’s always done his own laundry, his mother has been folding his clothes his whole life. So he moved from his parents’ house to my apartment and can’t fucking fold clothes. Then he starts yelling at me how I’m trying to control him and how he’s not my other son, but shit it feels like that sometimes.”
Jamel laughed out loud as Ethan continued, “That and the showers. Like fuck, why do you need to take three showers a day, you’re not that dirty, dude! Ok, shower in the morning after your run, cool. Shower at night, sure, why not? But midday showers just because? Like, are you jacking off in there or what?
“I told him last week he’s wasting water and running the bill up and the asshole says, ‘You can afford it.’ All smug. That’s his running joke, ever since we started sharing finances and I make a comment about him being frivolous with money or absentminded about the bills we pay, that’s what he says. If I was a violent man Jamel I would have slapped the shit out of him. I swear to God I married a teenager.”
Jamel, still laughing, said, “So pretty perfect, huh?” They both laughed. “Connor does that too, take random midday showers. He says that’s where he does his best thinking but I think he’s jacking off in there too. So if I’m home, I just go in there with him.”
“How is that helping the water bill?” Ethan asked, incredulously.
“It’s not, but it may save your marriage,” Jamel said.
“Fuck outta here.” Ethan rolled his eyes and they both laughed again. “How did we end up with these two?”
“Best friends, peas of the same pod that we accidentally plucked?” Jamel said.
Ethan laughed. “We should be best friends too. Just so they can’t get mad when we talk shit about them.”
Jamel looked at him feigning surprise. “Why Ethan, are you asking me to be your best friend? I’m honored.”
Ethan laughed. “Well seeing how my last best friend tried to break me and Jack up, then kissed me in front of him and Jack tried to knock his head off, I figured you were a safe bet.”
Jamel’s mouth dropped. “What the fuck? I need to hear that story. Like, right now.” Jamel leaned on the window waiting. Ethan shook his head and told him about Carlos.
Jack headed to the hospital around 7pm, and left Ethan to do the nighttime routine with EJ alone. He texted Mina when he got there: Hey I’m here. What room is she in?
Mina: Room 502. I’m in here with her. I want you to just poke your head in, say a few words to me, then leave. If she doesn’t recognize you then I know for sure she is lying. And I’m going to threaten her with social services if she doesn’t tell me the truth.
Jack: Ok, omw. But take it easy on her Sis. If she is lying it’s for a reason.
Mina texted back a “Meh” emoji as Jack got on the elevator. At room 502, he knocked first, then opened the door. Mina and the girl in the bed both turned to look at him. She was small, barely looked 16, had strawberry blonde hair and lots of freckles.