Building Things Chapter 35

Conner reached across the bed with his hand feeling. He moved his hand up and down the bed, but all he could feel was cloth, sheets and bedding. He opened his eyes, and lifted his head, as he lay on his stomach. The bed was empty. He sighed heavily and dropped his head back into the pillow, feeling lonely and empty inside. He remembered last night, after giving Alec his most treasured possession, seeing Alec's reaction to it, and then making the most passionate love they had made to date. Conner was drained. He wanted to sleep for a month, but he knew he had to get up and get this day started. A day, he hoped, that was going to allow them to start their new life together. He had to make it work, for them.

Conner rolled over, looking out of the window, it was still dark outside. He knew Alec had left to go to work. Conner needed coffee to get himself moving. He threw back the covers and got up, going out of the bedroom into the kitchen. He staggered over to the coffee machine, pulling out a cup from the cabinet and then placed it in the machine and pushed the button. He waited a minute, as the aroma filled the air around him. He pulled the cup and lifted it to his nose.

"Well, morning sunshine." The low voice made Conner look to his right. "I see you're dressed and ready for the day." Derrick said, standing there. "Mind if I join you or are you going to hog the machine?" Conner stepped to his left a step, letting Derrick move in next to him. "Long night?"

"You could say that." Conner said, as he put the cup to his lips. He sipped the life giving liquid and then looked Derrick up and down. "You're leaving for work, already?"

"Yeah." Derrick said. "I have to go in early to figure out what Tom and your father have gotten me into."

"Oh." Conner said.

"Are you still going to see your father?"

"Yes. The earlier, the better. He likes to conduct business after breakfast, but if I get to him early enough, it throws him off a little. He may slip up with a detail or two."

Derrick chuckled. "You certainly are your father's son."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means, that you think like him, business tactics, in the predawn light?" Derrick smiled, as he pulled his cup out.

"Oh, I see what you mean." Conner said, then looked at Derrick again. "How's your head?"

"It's fine, thanks for asking." Derrick looked at Conner. "Conner, I just wanted to say, I'm really sorry about coming onto Alec..."

"Derrick, don't worry about it." Conner said, putting a hand on Derrick's shoulder. "Alec knows it was just you being drunk and all. I'm good with it, really."

"I just don't want something like that to make it bad for us."

"It won't. As long as you don't drink as much anymore, and then try and mess with my husband." Conner grinned.

"So, you two are really...?" Derrick asked. "I mean, I think it's great and all. But,..."

"Too soon?" Conner asked. "That thought flashed across my mind too. But, you know, I really love him. I can't think of being without him."

"Bud, I think it's absolutely awesome myself. Now if I could get a certain somebody to..."

"Did you ask him?"

"Kind of, once. When I asked him to move in, it came out like a proposal." Derrick snorted softly, "It scared the hell out of him. Guess I know where I stand."

"Not necessarily." Conner smiled. "Give him a little time, that's all." Conner started to walk away.

"Where are you going?"

"Have to get ready. Want to be there to make him choke on his egg whites." Conner wiggled his eyebrows. He turned to walk away, Derrick watching his hot naked body walk off. Derrick shook his head slightly watching him. He sipped more of his coffee and then went to the sink, pouring it out. He set his cup in the sink, and then went to get his keys. He picked them up off the small table next to the answering machine, and slipped them into his front pocket. He walked to the bedroom and saw the sleeping form of Ty in the almost black of the room, lying on his side, his muscular body partly wrapped in the sheet, covering just his butt, his legs exposed, as well as his upper half. Derrick marveled at his body, every time he saw it, just like it was the first. Derrick sighed softly as he climbed across the bed to get close to him. Derrick bent down and kissed this beautiful man on the temple, softly so as not to wake him, then climbed back the way he had come. Ty stirred and lifted his head. Blinking heavy lids, Ty breathed in deeply through his nose. Derrick loved that sound.

"Hey." Ty said in a sleepy voice, as he started to stretch his arms, rolling onto his back. "Are you leaving?"

"Yeah." Derrick said softly, standing there, watching his beautiful man on the bed. Ty raised his head, seeing it wasn't quite light yet outside.

"Why so early?"

"Need to find out what mess I'm really into."

"Come back to bed." Ty said, rolling back on his side, propping himself on one elbow. "What time is it?"

"Five thirty."

"Jesus." Ty said, dropping back onto the pillows. "No one will be there for a couple of hours yet."

"I know." Derrick said.

"Come back to bed, sweetie." Ty whispered. "I can start your day off right."

"You make it so tempting."

"Do you need more tempting?" Ty asked, as he slowly pulled the sheet back, revealing himself more and more.

"Oh shit." Derrick said, seeing Ty laying there, getting harder by the second. Derrick started to unbutton his shirt. "I guess I don't have to be that early." Ty smiled as he watched Derrick unbutton and then toss the shirt aside. Derrick undid his pants and let them drop to the floor, as he kicked off his shoes, then stepped out of his pants. Ty was watching the show and started to turn himself to lie across the bed. Derrick went to pull down his tight bikinis but Ty stopped him, putting his hands on Derrick's hands. Ty got to his knees, as he pulled Derrick to the bed.

"I'm going to eat you through your underwear." Ty said, pushing Derrick as he spun him to the mattress. Ty kissed Derrick firmly, tonguing him furiously, as his hand grabbed Derrick's crotch over the underwear. Ty pulled back.

"Those are so fucking sexy on you." Ty whispered as he tongued Derrick ear furiously. Derrick was rubbing his hands over Ty's back as Ty was rubbing Derrick's growing length. "You're so fucking hot." Ty whispered.

"So are you." Derrick said, not being able to get a good hold on Ty, as Ty was moving further down Derrick, licking and chewing on his firm stomach and then Ty was on him, lipping and chewing Derrick's hard length through the tight underwear. "Ooohhh, God." Derrick was moaning. "Fuck, yes."

"Like that?" Ty whispered as he lipped over the thick length.

"You know I do." Derrick said as he put his hands on Ty's head, spreading his legs apart, giving Ty more access. Ty moved down as he lay angled over Derrick, mouthing over Derrick's balls through the fabric. Derrick moaned loudly, as Ty was moving over them fast, going back and forth, one then the other. "Oh...fuck." Derrick moaned. Ty got his hands around Derrick's legs, lifting them, making Derrick bend. Ty was almost in a sixty-nine position now, as he dove into the fabric on Derrick's ass, pushing in, biting at Derrick. Derrick moaned, as he worked a hand and grabbed Ty's enormous length, turning it, and himself, swallowing as much of him as he could. Ty moaned and looked back, seeing Derrick sliding his face back and forth on Ty's cock.

"Oh fuck, yeah." Ty said, as he turned and went back to Derrick's ass. Ty got fingers into the elastic band around Derrick's right leg, pushing the fabric over into Derrick's crack, exposing part of it. "Yeah, that's what I want." Ty said as he drug his tongue up and down on the exposed skin of Derrick's right cheek. Derrick moaned on Ty's cock in his mouth, as he moved faster on it. Ty groaned as he licked. "Baby, you're gonna make me..." Ty moaned, feeling it, wanting to do it. Derrick moved faster on him, tightening his mouth, then Ty let loose in Derrick's mouth, over and over, making Derrick moan as he swallowed each pulse of the shot. Ty exposed more of Derrick and found his opening, flicking his tongue at it, making Derrick moan again as he continued to suck on Ty. Ty felt so good, with Derrick on him, but he wanted more. Ty got his fingers into the fabric and pulled, ripping a hole in the ass of the underwear. Derrick pulled off of Ty.

"Yeah." Derrick almost growled. "Rip them off me, yeah." Ty created an opening, in the ripped fabric, leaving Derrick still trapped inside of them. Ty spun himself around and got between Derrick's lifted legs, putting his wet hard cock at Derrick's hole. "Yeah, fuck me, baby. Fuck me." Derrick said, lifting his head off the bed, grabbing Ty by the head with both hands, clenching his fingers into Ty's short hair, as Ty pushed into Derrick's tight hole. Derrick dropped his head on the bed, groaning, gasping for air, as Ty entered him.

"Yeah, you want that, don't you?" Ty growled. "You want me to fuck you hard, don't you?"

"Ooohhh...fuck, yes..." Derrick lifted his head again, staring into Ty's eyes. "Fuck me...make me scream!" Derrick said loudly, moving his hands to Ty's thick shoulders.

"You know I will baby." Ty groaned as he pushed in deeper, spreading Derrick apart wider as he went. Derrick moaned loudly as Ty pushed and then stopped. Ty rolled Derrick up, almost in half, holding his legs. "Now you have all of me in you. You like that, don't you?" Derrick took in a deep breath, feeling Ty rubbing against his walls inside of him, loving it, wanting it more. Derrick nodded in answer. "Now what do want?" Ty asked as he kissed Derrick and backed off.

"Fuck me with your big cock." Derrick growled. "In and out." Derrick dropped his head back on the bed, his arms spread out wide as felt that he was being taken. Derrick grabbed the sheet and started to pull at it with his clenched fingers. Ty started to move, slowly at first, a little at a time. "More." Derrick groaned.

"Yeah?" Ty moaned, breathing hard. "You want more, baby?"

"Yes..." Derrick groaned as Ty slid back in. "Harder."

Ty moved, sliding out, then back in, out then in. Derrick was breathing hard as well, almost panting. Ty loved it, loved the feeling of being inside Derrick, making him feel good, giving him what he wanted.

"Fuck me...." Derrick groaned out, giving Ty glassy eyes, as the sun began to rise, filling the bedroom with light. Ty slid back in faster this time, harder, bottoming out inside of Derrick, making him almost gasp for air.

"That's how you want it, isn't it?" Ty rocked his hips forward, burying himself deep into Derrick, Derrick was wide eyed at the pressure inside him, wanting to scream, but couldn't find the air for it. "Tell me what you want, baby." Ty said, as he pulled back, sliding almost out, and then pushing back in, going deep again. Derrick groaned loudly again, rolling his head side to side now, as Ty was pounding him.

"Fuck...fuck..." Derrick's voice was getting lower and lower. Breathing was becoming difficult, and then Ty felt it. Derrick clamping on him, his internal muscles as Derrick shot out trapped sideways inside of his underwear still. Ty could feel each pulse shooting out of Derrick, clamping on him. Ty pushed through it, loving the extra pressure on his long hard length. Ty couldn't take it anymore, as Derrick began to ease and Ty shot out again and again inside of Derrick. Ty kept pumping himself in and out of Derrick. Derrick's moans became softer and softer. Ty was lowering himself onto Derrick again, as he continued to pump into Derrick. Ty kissed Derrick softly, Derrick reached up and grabbed Ty's face with both hands, as if he were starving, pulling Ty to him, kissing him deeply, not caring about air anymore. Ty rocked his hips in and out, as far as he could, knowing that he was going to explode again, feeling it down deep inside of him, building up all over again, and then Ty cut loose again, pulsing one stream after the next into Derrick, continuing to fill him up. Finally Ty needed air, and pulled back. Derrick took in a deep as well, and dropped his arms on the bed, going limp. Ty slowed his hips, knowing he had exhausted Derrick, slowing, coming to a slow stop.

"Now, you can go to work." Ty said, as he put his mouth against Derrick's ear. Derrick chuckled, as he tried, but couldn't lift his arms.

"You fucked the life out of me." Derrick said through labored breaths.

"Guess you'll have to call in sick." Ty whispered. "I guess I finally found out how to keep you at home, huh?" Ty stayed inside of Derrick, staying ever hard.

"I love this." Derrick said, as he finally found some strength to reach his hands up. He ran his fingers over Ty's firm jaw, up to his ear, then traced its outline with a fingertip. "I always want this."

"Hmmm, something we can do every morning before you go into the office?" Ty said, as he smiled, and then kissed Derrick softly.

"Maybe." Derrick said. "I love it that you stay hard." Derrick said, giving Ty soft eyes. "You're incredible."

"You're not so bad yourself. You're really the only guy who can keep up with me."

"Really?" Derrick asked in a soft voice.

"Yeah, you still want it, don't you?"

"All day, every day." Derrick said with a wide smile. "If I didn't have to go to work." Derrick raised an eyebrow. "Someone's got to pay the bills around here."

"You're saying I don't work?" Ty asked, as he slid himself in again, burying himself deep inside Derrick. Derrick groaned loudly.

"Oh, fuck."

"Is that right?" Ty asked as he slid back a little, and then went deep again, rocking on his tiptoes, pushing into the mattress. Derrick arched his head back into the mattress at the pressure. "You like that, don't you?" Ty asked, growling again. "You want me to fuck you all over again, don't you?"

"Oh, fuck." Derrick gasped being spread wider as Ty pushed against his hole.

"Yeah, you still want it. Yeah, I can tell..."

Derrick reached up and grabbed Ty's face with both hands, pulling Ty to him, holding him, kissing him deeply as Ty was rocking his hips in and out of Derrick. Derrick was moaning into Ty's mouth as Ty moved, bring Derrick closer again, his own length still trapped in his bikinis. All Derrick wanted at this moment was to feel Ty inside of Derrick and out. At this moment, Derrick could not get enough of him, as he was being spread apart even wider, as Ty dug his toes into the bed, using them as leverage. Derrick moved his hands, wrapping them around Ty's head, keeping Ty's face tight to his, tonguing him furiously. Derrick could feel his spot being massaged in this motion that Ty was doing, and Derrick could himself getting closer to another wondrous explosion. Finally, Derrick needed air, and let Ty go, both of them breathing hard and deep. Derrick felt it, clamping on Ty with his internal muscles, as Derrick cut loose again in his underwear, pulsing over and over, his length trapped sideways, between his own leg and lower abs.

Ty grinned as he felt the clamping on his long hard length. He loved the feeling of it, wanted more of it himself, but he knew that Derrick had reached the point to where he couldn't possibly have another orgasm. Ty envied Derrick for his stamina, trying to keep up with Ty, to satisfy him, as Ty could continue like this literally all day long. And more than envy, it was the fact that Ty loved this man that he was making love with, more than anything that he had ever known. This magic that Derrick had, that was keeping Ty to him, wanting, desiring, loving to be with him. These thoughts and feeling were rushing through Ty as he felt himself drawing close again. He kept moving in and out of Derrick, being gentle, but firm in his pushing, bottoming himself out inside of Derrick, then starting again. Ty took in a breath and then cut loose again, deep inside of Derrick. Ty stopped his motion, letting his orgasm take him, feeling it, as he loved being right where he was. Ty opened his eyes, seeing Derrick below him in the morning light. Derrick smiled softly up at him.

"That was really awesome." Derrick whispered. He lifted his fingers and stroked Ty's short hair.

"No, it was incredible." Ty said softly. "I want to tell you something." Derrick gave Ty questioning eyes, as he continued to stroke Ty's hair. "I love you, Derrick Jacobson."

"I love you, Ty Caldwell." Derrick said in reply.

"No...I mean I really love you."

"What are you trying to say, baby?" Derrick said softly.

"I...just want you to know."

"There's something you're not telling me." Derrick said softly, as Ty slowly slid out of him. Derrick was moaning softly, feeling it. Derrick let Ty go, as Ty moved off Derrick, getting beside him on the bed.

"We can talk later." Ty said, as he kissed Derrick softly. "You have enough right now."

"Not when it comes to you." Derrick sighed softly, rolling to his side, looking at Ty. "Nothing is as important as you are."


"Really." Derrick said, smiling softly, looking into those sparkling eyes. "You sure you want to wait till later?"

"Let's go out tonight, just you and me, alright?" Ty asked, as he drug the backs of his fingers over Derrick's cheek.


"We can talk then." Ty said softly. "But you need to get up and get in the shower. You have to go to work, remember?" Derrick chuckled. Derrick moved and got off the bed, looking down at his soaked underwear.

"Jesus, this is nasty."

"Yeah, but it's hot."

"You gonna help me with this?" Derrick asked as he pointed at his underwear.

"Nope." Ty said, rolling to one elbow. "No more distractions." Ty wiggled his eyebrows.

"Thanks." Derrick said, and turned and walked into the bathroom. Ty spun around on the bed and lay back on the pillows hearing the water of the shower. He sighed to himself. He covered only part of himself, thinking about tonight and what was coming.

"You guys done tearing up this part of the house?" Conner asked as he leaned in the doorway, looking down at Ty. Ty rolled his head looking up at him. He sat up on the bed.

"My, don't you look good enough to eat." Ty said.

"So do you." Conner said, still leaning against the jamb. Ty was looking Conner up and down standing there in his suit. It was a light colored fabric that almost shined in the morning light. Conner's hair was perfect and his million dollar smile that he wore was worth two million at least.

"Fuck." Was all Ty could say. He swallowed hard. "You're going to your folks like that?"

"Something wrong with it?" Conner asked, standing straight, looking down at his clothes, looking worried.

"No, it's just that...Conner, you're fucking beautiful. Alec hasn't seen you like that has he?"

"No, haven't had the chance, yet."

"Well, I would make it a point. He'll probably rip those off you, after he gets up off the floor." Ty said, with a smile.

"Think it's good?"

"No, I think it's too good." Ty said.

"What's too good?" Derrick asked as he walked out of the bathroom, toweling his hair.

"You're stud muffin there." Ty said, pointing at the doorway. Derrick looked at Conner, his eyes widened as they moved up and down him. Derrick lowered the towel, Conner staring back at Derrick standing there naked.

"Holy shit." Derrick said softly. "Conner, you're fucking gorgeous. You're meeting your father looking like that?"

"Geez, guys!" Conner lifted up his hands. "Is there something really wrong with this?"

"Fuck no!" Derrick and Ty said at the same time. They looked at each other and laughed. Derrick stepped up in front of Conner. "Conner, you're absolutely fucking gorgeous." Derrick kissed Conner on the cheek. "Now, don't change a thing, and kick that old man's ass. You can do it in that, that's for sure."

"Think so?"

"Know so." Derrick said, backing up a step, taking in the sight again. "Has Alec...?"

"No, he hasn't." Ty answered, coming to the edge of the bed, totally uncovered. Conner was wide eyed, seeing them both naked in front of him. "But, I would pay money to watch his reaction."

"Me too." Derrick said, putting a hand on Ty's shoulder.

"Fuck. You guys are too fucking hot." Conner said.

"You are way more, sweetie." Derrick said, dropping the towel to the bed. "You'd better get out of here before both of us rape your sweet ass." Derrick smiled. Conner's eyes went wide. He turned on his heels and went down the hallway, leaving Derrick and Ty alone. Derrick looked down at Ty. "Fuck, he's hot." Derrick said.

"You aren't joking. It was all I could do to keep from boning up. Migod!" Ty said.

Derrick blew out a breath through his teeth. "I know what you mean. There are beautiful people on this world, and then are people that go beyond it. He's one of them."

"You got that right." Ty said, looking at the empty doorway. He felt lips touch his temple. He turned his head, and looked up. Derrick's eyes were on his.

"Present company accepted, of course." Derrick smiled. Ty feigned a smile. "Beauty comes in many forms. And you my love, have got to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I told you that, the first time we were ever in this room." Derrick smiled even wider. "Remember what I said?"

"You said you wanted to kiss me and run your tongue down my throat."

"That's right." Derrick said, as he straddled over Ty's lap, wrapping his arms around Ty's muscular neck. "I still do. I will want that to my dying day." Derrick kissed Ty softly, with a sexiness that drove Ty crazy, as only Derrick could do to him.

"I so fucking love you." Ty whispered.

"Really, because I love you more." Derrick looked serious to Ty. Derrick got up and walked to the dresser. He opened a drawer and pulled out another pair of underwear. Derrick stepped into them and tucked himself as he pulled them up, facing Ty. Ty was watching Derrick do all of this and was getting boned up just watching.

"Do you know that you are more than just hot? Do you know that you could make me cum just watching you getting dressed?"

"Really?" Derrick smiled at Ty. "You think I'm sexy?" Derrick asked, smiling, wiggling his hips a little.

"You're beyond that." Ty sighed, still watching.

"Are you hooked?" Derrick changed his smile to a devilish grin.

"Beyond that too." Ty exhaled. He was standing at full erection, sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Really," Derrick said, as he walked over toward Ty slowly, giving him a show in his underwear, "I would think that you would be able to tell me exactly what it is that you are feeling, and what you want." Derrick said, as he straddled himself over Ty's lap, trapping Ty's long length against Ty lower abs. Derrick wrapped his arms around Ty's muscular neck, pulling him in closer. "You could fuck me again, if you wanted to." Derrick whispered in Ty's ear. "You know I want that. Or, you could tell me what you really want? Do you want to fuck me all day long, or do you want to tell me something?" Ty moaned at what was happening to him. His resolve was wearing down, and rapidly. He did want to fuck Derrick all day long, forgetting all responsibilities that they both had, but knew deep down that he had to pull himself back from what his carnal side was experiencing.

"You are so fucking with my mind." Ty said, as he lay his head back, letting Derrick work over his neck with those hot lips, sucking, biting, kissing tenderly. "Oh, fuck." Ty whispered. "You have to stop." Ty said trying to pull away from Derrick.

"Why?" Derrick asked as he tongued Ty's muscular neck.

"Because, we have....responsibilities." Ty whispered with a sigh.

"Responsibilities?" Derrick asked, tonguing Ty's neck up to his ear. "I think...we are only responsible to ourselves." Derrick continued to lip and chew on Ty's earlobe. "I want you," Derrick breathed out deeply, rubbing his hands up and down Ty's back, "and I'm not going to stop till I have all of you." Derrick continued to tongue Ty's ear, not letting up.

"You do have all of me." Ty whispered. He loved what Derrick was doing to him, but he knew they needed to stop. Ty leaned forward against Derrick, pushing him. Derrick stopped and leaned back, holding onto Ty's neck.

"You really want me to stop?" Derrick asked.

"Yes...and no. We have to, you know that." Ty said, looking into Derrick's eyes. "I love you, Derrick." Ty said with a tone that made Derrick just look in his eyes, like he was searching for something.

"I know you do." Derrick finally said. He climbed off Ty's lap and stood on the floor. Derrick leaned forward and kissed Ty softly. Derrick picked up his clothes off the floor and started to get dressed. Ty watched him, as Derrick slid into his pants, bringing them up, covering his tight muscular butt. Derrick put on his shirt and began to button it. He finished the buttons and sat down on the edge of the bed, picking up his socks, putting them on, then his shoes. He stood and tucked in his shirt and finished his pants. He walked into the bathroom and brushed his teeth again.

Ty was sitting there, watching Derrick and feeling really bad about what was going on with them right now. He stood and walked around the bed, going to his side, picking up his cargos and stepping into them. He walked back around the bed as Derrick was coming out of the bathroom. Both of them stopped and looked at each other. Ty opened his mouth to say something, but Derrick lifted his hand to Ty's lips, touching them softly, stopping him.

"It's alright." Derrick said softly, scanning Ty's face and eyes. Derrick lowered his hand. "I have time for coffee. Would you like to join me?" Ty nodded in reply. Derrick turned and walked out of the bedroom, Ty following him into the kitchen. Derrick picked up his cup out of the sink, as Ty pulled one from the cabinet. They met at the coffee maker. Derrick went first, then Ty. They went round the island and sat at the counter next to one another. They looked at one another, and then Derrick saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Conner came out of his room into the kitchen.

"I thought you left?" Derrick said, as Ty turned round looking in Conner's direction.

"I am. I was just picking up a few things in the bedroom." Conner came round the counter to the sink, putting his coffee cup into it. "You guys alright?" Conner, looking at both of them.

"Yeah, we're fine." Ty said quickly. Conner raised an eyebrow.

"Okay." Conner said, knowing differently. He smiled at them both. "Well, wish me luck." Conner said, exhaling.

"You know we do." Derrick said, taking Ty's hand in his under the counter. Derrick squeezed Ty's fingers. Ty smiled to himself, then squeezed back.

"You're going to knock him dead, killer." Ty said.

"Hope so." Conner said, then turned and walked toward the front door. Derrick and Ty followed him with their eyes. They stayed where they were, hearing the front door open and then close.

"He'll be alright." Derrick said softly, turning back to Ty. Derrick lifted their hands up and kissed the back of Ty's softly. "Are we going to be alright?"

"Yes." Ty smiled. Ty looked at their hands, being intertwined with their fingers.

"I have to go." Derrick said, pulling his hand back from Ty's. He leaned forward and kissed Ty's cheek. "I'll see you later, alright?"

"Yeah. Don't forget about tonight."

"Wouldn't miss it." Derrick said, getting up from the stool. He turned and walked toward the front door. Ty watched him walk away. Derrick walked out the front door, across the porch, and down the steps to his car. He got in, and started it. He knew it was going to be a long day, as he looked back at the house. Derrick put the car into gear and pulled out of the driveway.

Conner pulled into the cobblestoned circular driveway, and parked the car. He readied himself as he looked at the large house, that was once his supposed home. He exhaled through his nose, as he opened the car door and got out. He walked up to the door and went to ring the bell. He adjusted his jacket first and reached up and adjusted his tie. He reached out to ring the bell as the door opened. Conner looked at the door.


"Morning, mother."

"I saw a car in the driveway, and didn't know who it was. I take it you're here to see your father."

"I am." Conner said, putting his hands together in front of him.

"Do come in." She said, and opened the door wider. He stepped around her, and into the foyer. She closed the door behind her quietly. "Does he know that you were coming?"

"No. He only wanted me to give him an answer today." Conner was being cold and aloof with her intentionally.

"And what is your answer."

"I will discuss it with him, mother. He's the one that wanted my answer."

"I see." She said softly. "You look very nice today."

"Thank you. I'm... job hunting."

"Well, you certainly look very... professional."

"Thank you." Conner didn't look at her, just looked ahead.

"He is in the dining room, if you wish to join him."

"Thank you." Conner said, walking away. He walked into the dining room, seeing his father at the other end of the table, reading the newspaper, while he ate. Van Owen looked up, seeing him standing there.

"You're early." Van Owen said, in an even tone, not loud.

"You taught me to be that way, father." Conner said, flatly. He started to walk into the room. He stopped at the closest end of the table. "I have come to give you my answer."

"I was expecting more of a phone call, actually."

"You also taught me to be respectful in business. That means I should talk to you face to face."

"You are a man at last." Van Owen said, folding up his newspaper, setting it aside. "Would you care to join me then?" Conner pulled the chair out that he had occupied yesterday at the end of the table.

"Thank you." Conner said, folding his hands together on the table.

"Coffee? Some breakfast?"

"No, thank you. I'll come right to it, father. I wish to accept your offer that you made me yesterday."

Van Owen sat back in his chair. "Imagine that. Why is that?"

"You made the offer, didn't you? Or are you rescinding it?"

"No, I am not rescinding it. I want to know why you're accepting it?"

"Fair enough, I suppose. First, I wish to remain here in this area. Second, I would require some kind of employment to do so, and rather than work in a convenience store, your offer sounds more appealing. Third, I'm not working for you, rather only for the board."

"So, you want to come home."

"No, father, I want to stay in the area. This was never home to me."

Van Owen got up from the table, and walked over to the buffet. He picked up the coffee pot and walked over and filled up his cup at the table and held the pot up, offering. Conner shook his head at it. Van Owen walked over and sat the pot back down on its warmer. He looked at his son for a long moment and then went back to the table, sitting back down. Phoebe emerged in the doorway, seeing the back of Conner. She looked across the room at the elder.

"Phoebe, would you go into my study, on the desk there are two large envelopes and a file. Would you bring them in for me?" She nodded her head in reply and walked away. "I must say, you are well dressed this morning."

"Something else you taught me, father." Conner said coolly. Phoebe returned carrying the envelopes and file, walking by Conner and down to the elder. He took them from her. She turned and started to walk out, slowing as she saw Conner, letting her eyes take him in. He gave her a glance and turned up his mouth just a little at her. She kept going and walked out.

"If you would care to have a look at these." Van Owen said, holding them up in the air a little, then set them on the table. Conner got up from his chair, knowing that his father would not come to him. He walked down the length of the table and saw the envelopes, they had his name on them. They were large manila envelopes, one thicker than the other. The file was a standard file folder. The elder opened the cover and Conner saw the documents inside.

"This is a standard contract, requiring your signature." Van Owen said. "All division heads are required to sign them. They are binding." Conner looked at him as he said it, and then looked back down at it. There were several pages to it. "Be sure and read it carefully before you sign it." Van Owen said, making it sound like a warning. "Open this one first." Van Owen pointed at the thinner of the two envelopes. Conner opened the flap and slid out the pages that were inside. He scanned them quickly, seeing that it was a breakdown of what Conner was going to be paid, if he signed on. Conner gave no sign of emotion, seeing the figures before him. "Now, open that last one." Conner set the papers down on the first envelope, and moved the other, picking it up. He opened it, pulling out the stack of papers. His eyes narrowed as started to read them. The further he went, the angrier he got. He was doing his best not to show anything at all. Conner took the papers and turned as he read them. "Want that coffee now?" Van Owen said, as he walked over to the buffet. He poured coffee for his son, and set the pot down. He turned and looked back at Conner, watching him. He walked back over to his own chair and sat down. Conner walked over to the buffet, still reading, then flipped the page. He picked up his coffee and sipped it, closing his eyes.

"Bastard," Conner thought to himself, "you never told me. Come on, keep it together...keep it together...don't let the fucker win." Conner sipped more coffee and composed himself. He turned and leaned against the buffet. He saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked briefly, seeing his mother walk into the room. He turned his attention back to the papers in his hand.

"So, as I see it," Conner said, "I have a considerable inheritance." He looked at his father, as his mother came closer to serve herself from the buffet. Conner stepped out her way, walking to the table. "And you're showing me this now? Why now?"

"It is long overdue." Evelyn said, from the buffet. "You have returned to us here. We both felt it was time."

Conner half turned, looking back at his mother. "And what about New York? All the problems that I had there, all of the struggles there. This would have eliminated that."

"We are aware of that." She said, not looking at him. She finished serving herself and turned to with a small plate toward the table. "Had we given you that, you would not have returned. It's that simple." She said, as she set her place at the table. She turned back to the buffet, she poured coffee for herself, and then returned to the table.

"You should probably read the rest of it." Van Owen said. Conner set his coffee cup down and flipped another page. He read it and then the next one. His eyes narrowed. He saw enough. He was furious over what he read.

"How can this be hinged on that?" Conner asked, setting it down on the table.

"Quite simply." Evelyn said, not looking at him. "It was your grandfathers wish."

"It's antiquated thinking." Conner said. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. She stopped eating and gave him a cold stare.

"I think not." She said in her tone that always terrified him as a boy. "It clearly says you are to marry, and to produce an heir. There is nothing antiquated about that."

"It's Victorian, mother, and you know it. I want nothing to do with it."

"You will, young man." She said in that tone again. Conner pulled himself together, looking at her, giving her a cold stare. He lifted his eyes finally and looked at his father.

"I am here for a business transaction. I am not here to debate family politics." Conner put his hands together in front of him. "Father, does your offer still stand?" Van Owen nodded in reply. "Very well. I will take the time needed to review this contract, if you don't mind. May I use the library?"

"What's wrong with right here?" Van Owen asked, straightening up in his chair.

"The air has grown decidedly cold in here." Conner said, glancing at his mother, then back to his father. "May I use the library?"

"Go ahead." Van Owen said, holding up a hand. Conner picked everything up and walked out of the dining room. Van Owen leaned over in his chair to pick up his newspaper. Evelyn set her fork down on the plate loudly. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "Go ahead and say it." He said, as he opened his paper.

"How could you just sit there?"

"Why not? That wasn't my idea, it was yours as I recall."

"Don't you want him back?"

Van Owen blew a little through his nose. "By putting a gun to his head? When are you going to realize that you can't control him?"

"When are you going to realize that we need him?" She glared at him.

"Probably after I'm dead." He said, looking at her with the same glare. "And not soon enough for you."

Phoebe came into the library as Conner was pacing with the contract in his hands, reviewing it. It seemed to be cut and dry to him, but after the last one, he didn't trust anything that they had, and he didn't want to be trapped. Conner looked up as the door closed behind her.

"Hi." Conner said, looking at her.

"Hello." She said softly.

"Are you alright?" Conner asked, as he lowered the contract.

"Yes. I'm worried about you though."

"I'm alright." Conner said.

"I don't think you are." Phoebe said, as she crossed the room toward him. "I've heard them talking. They're planning."

"Yeah, I know, I read it."

"Conner, you could..."

"No, Phoebe. I won't." Conner took a deep breath and let it out. "I've met someone. I'm happy."

"This someone, is the one you were with before you left for New York?"

"Yes." Conner said.

"He makes you happy?"


"I'm glad." Phoebe said, putting her hands together in front of her. "May I get you something, sir?"

"Phoebe." Conner said, rolling his head to the side a little.

"If you require anything, please ring the intercom." She turned and walked to the door. Conner watched her walk out, closing the door behind her. He went back to the contract, diving through the pages, one after the other. It took him a while, but as he finished it, he saw nothing out of the ordinary. If it was true, he felt confident in signing it. Conner gathered all of the documents and walked out of the library, leaving the door open. He went to the dining room, but it was empty. He knew where his father was now, and he sighed, the one room of the house that truly terrified him, the study. His father was more than powerful there, on his own ground as it were. Conner bit his bottom lip and went toward the study. He knocked on the door.

"Come in." Came the booming voice inside. Conner opened the door, closing it behind him. "Are you finished?"

"Yes, father, I am." Conner said, as walked toward the massive desk in front of the windows.

"So, you're prepared to sign it?" Van Owen asked. "No hesitation?"

"No hesitation." Conner said, he stopped in front of the desk. "And just to make it official, I will sign it with one of your good pens." Conner reached for one that was on the desk. He had always been told never to touch them as he grew up. His father just watched as Conner picked one up and signed the contract in all the places indicated. Conner set the pen back to its original place and handed the contract over to his father. Then he put out his hand toward him. His father stood and took it, giving it a firm shake. "Shall I announce myself at the office, or will one of the board be there?"

"Hendrix will be there on Monday morning from the board. You know where the office is located?" Van Owen asked. Conner nodded. "Good." Van Owen said, and then pulled out a white envelope out from under his blotter. He handed it to Conner. Conner narrowed his eyes at it. "It's yours. Well, take it." Van Owen extended it out further. Conner took it. He didn't open it, but put it inside of his breast pocket. Van Owen went to sit back down, he pointed at one of the big chairs across from him to have Conner sit. "So, now that you're one of the division heads, let's have a talk."

Derrick was going over the contract with Tom, sitting across from him. Terry walked in carrying plans. Derrick looked up for a moment and saw him coming toward the desk. Derrick sighed heavily as he read the contract.

"It seems that we're stuck alright." Derrick said, putting the contract down, looking at Tom, who was sinking into the chair. "Actually more like fucked." Derrick said, as he got to his feet. Terry unrolled the plans out on Derrick's desk. They were more like renderings than anything else, artist's conceptions. Derrick flipped through them one after the other. He would look up now and then, giving Tom a look. Tom would gulp every time he did it. "Did they give you anything else?" Derrick asked Tom.

"Some preliminary figures. They are in the actual file." Tom said, as he sat forward.

"I don't understand this, Tom." Derrick said. "Why would you take this without consulting me?"

"Did you see the figures on the contract?"


"Derrick that's more money than we made in all of last year combined." Tom said.

"And?" Derrick glared at him.

"Look, get over it. Get over who it actually is."

"You have no idea who it is that you're talking about." Derrick said. "That son-of-a-bitch will try and control every part of it. You don't know him, I do. I've seen it firsthand."

"But, Derrick, think about it."

"No, dipshit, you think about it." Derrick snarled. "And not about increasing the size of the checkbook either." Derrick said, trying to calm down. He took in a deep breath. "So, I'll tell you what, Tom. I'm going to put my thumbprint on this, and sanction it, as we really don't have a choice, without him suing the shit out of us, you're going to do this, ALL of it."

"I can't do it all." Tom said.

"You're going to have to. I want no part of it."

"You're the better architect."

"I know that." Derrick said. "You got us into this, and you're going to get us out of it. You will have to handle all of the meetings, all of the calls, and all of the points. I would suggest that you get busy."

"There's at least two months work here." Tom said. "I have other projects that are going on."

"I would suggest you delegate them out. And as the senior partner, I'm pulling my weight, as of now."


"Reassign you other projects, or I'll do it for you." Derrick said, in his tone that Tom knew all too well. Tom gathered everything up off Derrick's desk. As Tom went to leave, Derrick said, "And I want regular reports. You will not leave me in the dark again."

"Alright." Tom said quietly, as he left the office.

"Boss," Terry said, after Tom closed the door, "do you want to know what his other projects are?"

"Yes. I want a complete list, and everything that there is. Where he stands with them, who else is working on them, everything. Clear?"

"Very clear, boss." Terry said, and walked toward the door.

"And if he asks you, tell him it came from me."

"I will." Terry said, closing the door behind him. Derrick sat back down, leaning on his forearms on his knees. He put his hands together, patting them over and over as he was getting lost in thought. Derrick's phone buzzed. He turned and pushed the button.

"Yes, Kim."

"Call on line one for you. It's a Ty Caldwell?"

"Thanks." Derrick said, pushing the button, he picked up the phone. "Hi." Derrick said.

"Hey. I wanted to give you a call. How you doing?"

"That's sweet. I'm doing alright. What's going on?" Derrick asked.

"I wanted to tell you that I stopped and picked up the stack stone."

"Oh. Is everything alright?"

"Yeah." Ty said softly. "Candace said to tell you hi."

"Okay. Are you alright?"

"You keep asking that."

"Well, you never really call me here at the office unless there's something going on that's earth shattering."

"You're right. I just wanted to hear your voice." Ty said quietly.

"Why do you make my stomach flip when you say things like that?" Derrick said, with a smile.

"I don't know. I can't wait for tonight. I've got to go unload all this stuff. I love you, Derrick."

"You want me to come home to help you?" Derrick asked.

"No, I've got it. Bart and the boys are here. They can give me a hand if I need it."

"Alright, if you're sure."

"I am. See you tonight."

"Okay, babe. Love you." Derrick said.

"Love you too." Ty said and hung up. Derrick heard the click and hung up the phone. He frowned, remembering what had happened the last time that Candace was involved. Derrick was worried all of a sudden. Ty never called him, what the hell was up? Derrick looked up at the knock on his door. Terry came in, closing the door behind him.

"This can't be good." Derrick said, seeing the look on Terry's face.

"You're right, it's not."

"I don't need much more."

"Sorry, boss. I've been going through his stuff. You're not going to like it."

"Shit. Alright, tell me."

"I sent a link to you on the server. Why don't you open it, you can see for yourself."

Derrick opened his computer, and then opened up the link in the server that Terry sent. Derrick saw all the projects that Tom had going. Several of them seemed to be older, judging by the dates listed. Derrick started going through them one at a time.

"Did you open any of these?" Derrick asked Terry.

"A few, but not all of them. It looks like most are not completed yet."

"Looks like these are several months old. Do you think they're still viable?"

"I can check to see if they've been billed out."

"I count...what, sixteen?"

"That's what I found. There may be more, I just don't know yet."

"Oh, Christ." Derrick said, shaking his head. "This is not how we do business."

"I agree, boss."

"Alright you double check the billing, I'm going to go talk to him." Derrick said, as he got up. "Did you print all this out?"

"Not yet."

"Well, print out the headings to give them something to reference. Then leave it with me after you find out." Derrick said as he reached the door. "I'll be with Tom." Terry nodded and went to his own office. Derrick went the other way, walking to see Tom, in Calvin's old office.

Conner went to get up from the chair. Van Owen watched as his son stood, narrowing his eyes at him. Conner reached out his hand leaning over the desk a little. Van Owen reached out and took his sons hand, shaking it firmly.

"Thank you, father, it was a pleasure doing business with you." Conner said, taking his hand back.

"Where are you going?"

"I have another appointment, I'm afraid." Conner said, tucking his tie back to his shirt, as he buttoned his suit.

"You could stay and have lunch."

"Thank you, but no. I don't think that mother would be in a...receptive mood." Conner smiled briefly. "It's been a very enlightening morning, thank you."

"I'd like you to stay for a while." Van Owen said, giving Conner a brief smile. "Off the clock as it were."

"I really have another appointment that I can't miss." Conner turned and walked toward the door.

"You forgot these." Van Owen said, holding up the envelopes.

"Oh, you're right." Conner walked back, taking them from his father's hand. "Might need this one at least." Conner feigned a smile. "Have a good day, father. You'll hear from at the first board meeting." Conner nodded slightly, then turned and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. He turned and walked down the wide hallway, heading for the front door. He opened it, but was called to. He closed his eyes for a moment and then turned around. His mother was standing there. He closed the door.

"Your business is concluded with your father?"

"Yes, mother, it is." Conner sighed.

"Very good. Won't you stay for lunch?"

"No, thank you. I have another appointment. I've already told father that."

"I see." She said, folding her hands together. "With that young man that I met?" She tried to smile, but couldn't.

"His name is Alec, and yes, it's with him."

"I would like to get to know him."

"I really think that that is a bad idea, mother."


"I don't want him to become involved with either of you. It's safer that way for him."

"You didn't think that way with James."

"And that led to disastrous consequences, didn't it? The proof is right here in my hand, mother. How dare you?" Conner stepped forward toward her. "I have watched you for years, seeing how you manipulate things and people. I prayed it would stop, but it never did. I want you to stay away from Alec, mother. I don't want you to see him, talk to him, have anything to do with him, do you understand? He's the best thing that's ever happened to me in my entire life, and I won't have you wreck it. If you love me, mother, then you will stay away from him. All I want is a chance for happiness. He gives that to me, freely, with no obligation or thought. Can you understand that?" Conner was standing before her. She shrank slightly in front of him. "I will not stand for any interference this time. You destroyed me and James, and it will not happen with Alec, I swear to you. Good day, mother." Conner turned and walked to the front door, opening it, and then closing it behind him. Conner walked to his rental car, getting in. He started it, and drove out of the driveway. He drove down the road and around the long sweeping curve, going alongside the golf course. He reached up and loosened his tie a little, and then undid the button on his shirt. He pulled over and stopped, putting the car in park. He pulled out the envelope from his breast pocket and opened it. He looked at what was in it. There was a check for his sign in, part of the award for becoming a division head, that was listed in the contract, no surprise to him. There was a note, behind that check that he pulled out, reading it, it was in his father's hand. Conner made a deep sob after he read it, he blinked away tears, looking up at the headliner of the car, fighting not to cry. He pulled out the next check, and his eyes, so wet, couldn't really read it. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He looked again, his heart was racing, pounding in his chest, not being able to breathe. The tears flowed freely now. The one man who would understand was Derrick. He had to get to him.

Conner drove into town, and parked on the street in front of Derrick's office. Conner wiped his eyes and grabbed the envelopes. He walked into the building, hoping Derrick was there. Conner walked up to Kim.

"I'd like to see Derrick Jacobson, if I could please?"

"Do you have an appointment?"

"No, I don't. If you could tell him I'm here. I'm sure he'll see me."

"Your name, sir?"

"Conner...Conner Van Owen."

Kim's eyes were wide. "I'll see if I can find him. Won't you have a seat?" Conner turned and walked over and sat down, resting his arms, on his knees, while Kim was on the phone, trying to find Derrick. A couple of minutes later, Derrick came rushing out into the lobby. Conner stood, as Derrick came running up to him. They hugged briefly, Derrick pulling back, holding Conner by the upper arms, looking him over, as if checking him for injuries.

"My God, are you alright?"

"Yeah," Conner said, as his eyes welled up again, "I really need to talk to you."

"Oh shit." Derrick said quietly. "Come on, let's go to my office. Kim, no calls except for Ty, okay?"

"Sure, Derrick." Kim said, watching them, as Derrick had his arms around Conner, walking him to his office.

Conner was led to the chair and sat down. He fell apart as Derrick knelt in front of him, holding his hands. Conner told him everything and handed Derrick the manila envelope that had everything about the inheritance. Derrick scanned it quickly, seeing the points under which Conner had been so upset about.

"I don't believe this." Derrick said, as he read it. "You can only collect on this, if you marry and produce an heir?" Derrick shook his head as he read it. "That's so..."

"I said Victorian." Conner had stopped sobbing by now. Derrick looked at him.

"Yeah, good word, it fits. And your mother goes along with this?"


"I'm shocked. I don't know what to say."

"Well then, let me really floor you." Conner reached into his jacket and pulled out the other envelope, handing it to Derrick. Derrick took it and opened it, seeing the first check. He pursed his lips together. "It's behind the first one." Conner said. Derrick saw the note, read it, his eyes went wide, and then he moved the first check and saw the next one.

"Oh my..." Derrick looked down at Conner as he stood up, leaning against his desk. "Your mother doesn't know about this, does she?"

"No, I don't think so." Conner sobbed again. "Oh, Derrick, I've been so wrong, all this time, about him. I've been such an asshole."

"Hey, hey, hey, hey..." Derrick said, as he knelt in front of Conner again, "no, you weren't. Think about it, you weren't. Everything they did, they did to you knowingly, to benefit themselves, not you. No, they're not parents, bud. Your father is doing this out of guilt, guilt for all those years of you not being there, by their choice, not yours, they pushed you away, and now, are driving you away. Bud, I'm sorry, but you know it's true." Derrick turned and picked up the phone. He punched a couple of numbers. "Terry could you come in here?" Derrick hung up the phone, and then called another extension. "There's someone in my office, you need to meet, right now." Derrick hung up the phone. Terry came through the door. "I hate to ask, but get some coffee for all of us, will you?"

"Sure, boss." Terry said. He turned and went to walk out, Tom came walking in, looking a little on the scared side.

"Tom, there's someone I want you to meet." Conner stood up, his eyes were red, and trails were running down his cheeks. He tried to smile. "Tom Donahue, meet Conner Van Owen." Conner stuck out his hand.

"Van Owen?"

"Yes. Conner can tell you firsthand what we're dealing with, with his father. I wanted you to meet him, and hear it from the horses mouth." Derrick put a hand on Conner's shoulder, guiding him back into the chair, as Tom was looking wide eyed at Conner, then to Derrick. Terry wheeled in a small cart with coffee and supplies. Derrick walked out for a minute. He came back, carrying a damp hand towel, handing it to Conner. "For your eyes, bud." Derrick said, giving Conner a kiss on the top of his head. "Let's all get comfortable. He has a heavy story to tell."

"I need to meet Alec." Conner said.

"Don't worry. Give me your phone." Conner handed Derrick the phone, Derrick found Alec, and called him, getting his voicemail. "Hey Alec, listen sweetie, Conner is here at my office with me. Come here after work, okay? See you then." Derrick ended the call and handed the phone to Conner.

Conner began at the beginning at Derrick's request. He told of everything that he knew, that he had witnessed growing up when he was home from boarding school. How his father could control people during meetings held at the house, turn things in his favor every time. Conner talked of his mother, being the real power of the family, manipulating his father, leading him, guiding him to make those decisions in business. She was the one that made him ruthless. And Conner, as he talked about it, out in the open, began to understand more and more, his father was the voice, his mother held the knife in his back, poking him as it were. His father was a force to reckon with for sure, but it was his mother that led it. Conner struggled not to tear up again. Tom and Terry just sat there listening to every word. Tom was feeling more and more sick to his stomach, knowing that his own greed was bringing them down a path to possible disaster. Tom lowered his head.

"What, Tom?" Derrick asked.

"I have so fucked up, Derrick. And I am so sorry. I had no idea." Tom said softly.

"Now you do." Derrick said. "And now, we need to act. You know what we're up against. Tom, I am going to reconsider my earlier decision. We are going to work on this together. Terry, I want you to take all of those other projects and delegate them out. Get everyone else on them. I want nothing else to come in for right now. Let's focus on getting this one done, and the others caught up and completed. Are we good?" Derrick asked. Both Tom and Terry nodded. Derrick's phone rang.

"Yes, Kim?" Derrick asked the speaker.

"Alec Marquez is here."

"Send him back, please." Derrick pushed the button. A minute later, Alec walked into the office, seeing Conner, and the others. Conner stood and rushed to Alec, throwing his arms around Alec. Conner broke down again, sobbing into Alec's shoulder. Alec held him, looking at Derrick confused. "Let's give them a minute, guys, shall we?" Derrick said, standing. Terry and Tom stood up. Tom recognized Alec from the restaurant, but didn't say anything. The door closed, leaving them alone.

"Oh baby, what's wrong?" Alec asked, never having seen Conner like this before. "You're scaring me." Conner pulled back and used his palms to wipe his eyes, then took a deep breath. He looked at Alec, smiling. "What's happened?"

"A lot." Conner said, as he exhaled. "Do you have to go to work tomorrow?"

"Yes." Alec said, holding Conner's hands. Alec was starting to well up, seeing Conner so upset, but he looked him up and down as well, never seeing him dressed like this. "I know you're upset, babe, but damn you look hot in a suit."

"Alec." Conner smiled. "There's something I need to say." Conner said as he got down on one knee. "I know you said last night you would marry me."

"Yes." Alec said, looking very worried.

"Alec, would you marry me tomorrow? I mean really marry me, tomorrow."

"What? Are you serious?"

"Very." Conner said, holding Alec's hands in his tightly. "We can go downtown, here, to the courthouse. We can have it done with a judge, or whatever they do. Then we can go away and spend the weekend somewhere, like a honeymoon." Conner smiled. "Will you? Will you do that with me?"

"Conner, sweetie, you know I would, but we can't right now."


"Well, I know we talked about you doing the job thing, and you getting it and all, but we can't afford to do anything like that right now. We have to be smart so we can get an apartment. I thought that's what the plan was."

"Plan change, babe." Conner said, as he pulled out the envelope. He opened it and pulled out the first check, holding it out to Alec. Alec saw it but couldn't believe it, his mouth dropped open. "I want to give you whatever you want. Alec, if you want to go back to school, or if you want to work in the restaurant, hell I'll buy you a restaurant."

"We can't do that with just this. I mean this is great and all, but, what is this?"

"It's the sign in, for the contract that I signed. It's for the position of being a division head for my father's corporation."

"This isn't just..."

"No, there's more." Conner pulled out the other one, then stood up. He turned it and showed it to Alec. Alec gasped and put a hand over his mouth, then slowly looked up at Conner. Alec's knees buckled and he started to fall backward. Conner grabbed him, and steadied him. "Easy, baby, easy." Conner said, holding him up. "You alright?"

" need to sit down." Alec said, breathing hard. Conner got him into a chair. He picked up the damp towel and wiped Alec's face with it. "Conner...I can't do this."

"Can't do what?"

"Conner...I don't want your money." Alec said, leaning back in the chair.

"That's fine, babe."

"I can't think right now. I can't do this." Alec started to get up. He had a terrified look on his face.

"You can't do what?" Conner was trying to hold onto Alec's shoulders as he got up. "Alec, talk to me. What can't you do?"

"I can't marry you."

"What?" Conner gulped. "Why not?"

"Think about this." Alec said, he had a wild look in his eyes. "This, all this money. It will lead to something bad. It will tear us apart! Nothing good comes from money!" Alec struggled to get away from him. Conner held him firmly.

"Alec,...Alec, listen to me." Conner was trying to get him to stop struggling. "Alec! Listen to me!" Alec stopped struggling, hearing Conner's voice. "You have to understand, it was mine the whole time! Remember the ring? My grandfather's ring?" Alec nodded. "He left all this to me. My mother kept it from me. My father, he made sure that he got it to me. Alec, this is for us. We can start our life together, be together, love each other, the way you want, the way I want. Be happy together. Isn't that what you want?" Alec was staring at Conner, slowly he nodded his head. "Are you sure? You want to be with me?" Alec nodded. "Alec Marquez, I love you, and I want you to be my husband. Will you do that with me?" Alec was dropping tears now. "Don't be afraid, we will be together always, just you and I."

"The money..."

"The money means nothing, if I don't have you first." Conner smiled. "Do you understand?" Alec nodded. "Now, we can go look for an apartment or a condo." Conner smiled.

"Conner, I'm sorry I freaked out. Money like that scares me."

"That's an understatement." Conner grinned.

"But, I don't want to marry you right now."

"What?" Conner asked.

"I want to wait, and...have a proper wedding." Alec said, looking down at the floor. "I've always dreamed of a wedding, but knew it would never happen."

"Alright. What kind of a wedding do you want?"

"One, with family and friends. I want flowers, lots of flowers, and us in tuxes. I want Derrick and Ty to stand with us. I want it in a meadow, with a creek near it."

Conner smiled wide. "Alright." Conner kissed Alec's forehead. "Anything else?"

"Yes. And I want your parents there."

"Oh, no way." Conner had a look of horror on his face. "There is no way."

"Yes there is." Alec said. "If your father gave you this, out of love, which he did, and you know it. Then when their son gets married, they should be there."

"Oh, babe." Conner hung his head. "Alec, I would do anything in the world for you, but my parents..."

"Hey, let's not worry about that right now." Alec said. "Conner, I'm sorry. I'm scared. Promise that you won't let this money go to your head."

"Babe, you don't understand," Conner chuckled, "I grew up with this kind of money. This is nothing new to me. First things first, we go to the bank. Next we find an apartment. Then we moved you out of yours."

"Can I ask you for a favor?"

"Sure." Conner smiled.

"Can we get a new bed?" Alec asked with that little bot look. Conner laughed out loud, then hugged Alec tight. There was a knock at the door, Derrick stuck his head in.

"Everything alright?" Derrick asked.

"Yes." Conner said, letting Alec go a little so he could turn and see Derrick as well. "I'd like to ask you something."

"Sure, bud." Derrick came in, closing the door. He walked to them. "What is it?"

"Would you do me the honor of being my best man?" Conner asked. Derrick looked back and forth at them, then smiled wide.

"I would be more than happy to be your best man." Derrick said.



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