Building Things Chapter 39

Derrick stirred in the morning light as it began to stream in through the large bedroom window at the foot of the bed. He lay on his back with his left arm up over and draped over the top of his head. He breathed in slowly through his nose and let it out as his eyes fluttered and he focused. He smiled softly to himself, as he lowered his arm and looked toward the other side of the bed, it was empty. He let out the breath as a slight sigh.

He tossed back the sheet and swung his legs off the bed to sit up. He groaned deeply as he moved, the stitches in his side pulling, and the pain was tremendous. He put his right hand against the dressing, giving it some pressure and sat up.

"That sounded like it hurt." Ty said as he came through the bedroom door from the hall carrying two coffee cups. Derrick just looked up at him, panting slightly.

"You have no idea." Derrick said in a soft voice, taking the coffee cup that Ty was handing to him.

"You'd be surprised." Ty smiled and then sipped from his own cup. "And just where do you think you're going, mister?"

"Well, bathroom for starters, then I thought I'd go out and dig up some plants in the flower beds, cook, clean, you know, the everyday things." Derrick half grinned.

"Cute." Ty said, giving him a stern look. "Remember what the doctor said, you were going to be stiff and sore for a day or two?"

"Yeah, he was right." Derrick said as he put his cup on the night stand. He slowly got to his feet, Ty grasping an arm, pulling him up. "I'll be back in a minute." Derrick said, only using his eyes to look at Ty, and walked slowly toward the bathroom, clutching his side. Ty watched the naked muscular butt walk away, almost licking his lips as he watched Derrick's beautiful hard body from behind. Ty waited and when Derrick came back out, he walked a little better, and not clutching at the dressing. "You didn't tell me that I looked like shit."

"What? You look as gorgeous as ever."

"You're sweet really, but you're a terrible liar." Derrick feigned a smile, "I looked in the mirror, I see disaster."

"Oh my God, babe, you're at home, you've been in a knife fight, sewn up, and really who gives a shit what you look like? You're lucky to be alive. So don't be a prissy bitch, you can take a shower tonight, like he said, 24 hours, and just do the grunge thing for one day. Pretend its...camping, with...comforts."

"Wow, really?" Derrick stood there, with a look that Ty wanted to bust up over. Ty pursed his lips to stop any laughter. "You kill me sometimes."

"Yeah, that's why you love me." Ty said, wiggling his eyebrows, then sipped more coffee. Derrick moaned a soft growl in his throat making Ty chuckle. "I have an idea, and if you're a good boy, I'll let you do it." Ty said.

"Sex?" Derrick wiggled his eyebrows.

"Good guess, but,...wrong. Don't want to rip those stitches. No, I'll give you something to do, besides, I really can't tie you to the bed, and not feel guilty about it, you know?"

"Such a tease."

"Part of the charm." Ty smiled. "I'll be in the kitchen. Get something on." Ty walked by and gently grabbed a cheek of Derrick's firm butt, and then walked out of the room. Derrick just shook his head, watching him walk away. He went to the dresser and opened a drawer and pulled out a slender pair of low cut pajama bottoms and slipped them on, they rode just below his hips, and the thin tight fabric showed everything, and rode tight to his butt. Derrick loved these and how the fabric felt on his skin. He pulled out a tank top, that was kind of loose, and let it drop down him, he closed the drawer and slowly walked out, grabbing his coffee cup on the way. He came around the corner and saw Ty at the table, spreading out his drafting supplies on the table top. Derrick smiled at him.

"What's this?"

"Oh, something to keep you busy for a while." Ty smiled. "Come and have a seat, and we can have a little talk about an idea that I had."

"Sounds scary, but, okay." Derrick said as he came around the counter and Ty saw what he wearing for the first time, and his eyes went wide.

"Holy smokes, those are really fucking hot!" Ty said.

"What, this old thing? You like these?"

"Jesus, you are so fucking hot in those." Ty smiled, with a look of lust as well.

"Well, maybe you can do something about it?"

"Later, tiger...we got to be easy, remember? You blowing me on the couch last night will have to do, until you lose the stiffness in your side. Damn." Ty shook his head. "If I'd have seen those, a couple of weeks ago, I'd have moved in quicker. Why don't you wear those to bed one night, and I can rip them off you?" Ty wiggled his eyebrows.

"Well, if you like these...then you should see some of the others I have."

"What? Maybe I should I go through your drawers?"

"You already have." Derrick smirked as he pulled out the chair a little. He leaned forward and gave Ty a kiss. "You know, you could bend me over the table..."

"Not a chance, mister." Ty backed up a step. "Hands off, for a couple of days." Ty shook a finger at him, raising an eyebrow.

"Alright," Derrick said as he eased into the chair, and sighed gently getting comfortable, "so tell me about this idea you have." Derrick leaned on his left arm, on the arm of the chair. Ty sat down at the bench on Derrick's left, setting his coffee cup down.

"Let me ask you a question?" Ty asked to begin with, "I know that you had designed the structure to be a garage, but then change the idea to a home office," Derrick nodded at Ty's words, "so what do you do when the snows come? For the car, I mean?"

"I brush it off. " Derrick smiled briefly. "Sometimes when it gets deep, I have to shovel a bit. Being out here at the end of the road, I have to wait for the county plow trucks, but they usually come in the early morning, and I'm up and out behind them. It's a little bit of a pain in the ass, but I've gotten used to it." Derrick said.

"Yeah, I bet it is." Ty said, pursing his lips together, looking at Derrick. "I had this idea, and I wanted to run it by you, you can say no anytime." Derrick looked him and narrowed his eyes. "You always park in the curved driveway out front. What if there was a structure there, like a carport, not a garage, but something that would keep the snow off the car, and make it easier to deal with getting out?"

"It's funny you say that. There was an old carriage house out there when I bought the place." Derrick smiled. "It was a single wide kind of garage building. It was leaning and falling down almost, and we put hands on it and basically pushed it down. Cut it up and hauled it away. Sad really to see it go down, but it was never built right in the first place."

"Wow, really? Whose we?"

"I hired Sam Beckett for the renovation. It was some of his guys and I that took it down."

"Ah." Ty said. "It's too bad, part of the history of the house."

"Yeah, it was sad for sure." Derrick said remembering clearly the visual coming back to him. "It was so rotted and you could tell it was built wrong from the start. Better to put it out of its misery I guess." Derrick paused for a long moment, and then brightened, looking at Ty. "So, what's your idea?"

"Well, something to keep the snow off in the winter, and the sun in the summer. I mean it's such a pretty car, the weather is just beating it up you know?"

"I do know." Derrick frowned slightly.

"I would think it needs to stay in line with the architectural lines of the house, some matching details possibly that tie the two together. And I'm not talking like sides that are walled or anything, just some cover."

"So, a solid roof, but with open sides," Derrick said as he grabbed a pencil and a small pad, and started to rough sketch for Ty. Ty smiled as he watched the pencil dance across the page, Derrick giving a dimensional look to what he was sketching. "Kind of like this?" Derrick asked, but still moving the pencil on the page, Ty leaned a little closer.

"Yeah, and then, some details that tie it to the house, probably at the gable ends, and maybe around the posts, a little trim, and then we can call it good." Ty watched Derrick rather than the drawing, he loved it how Derrick could get so lost in the sketching, the work of it, the lines, Ty supposed it was just like him, getting lost into something he would build, lose track of time, where he was at. They understood each other that way, he knew. Derrick lifted the pencil, and looked at it again, tapping the end on the page. He nodded, and then slid it around so Ty could see it clearly.

"Something like that?"

"Yeah, what do you think?"

"Damn good idea, babe." Derrick smiled. "So...when do you want to do it?"

"Well, it was just an idea." Ty said with wide eyes. "If you want it built, maybe you could call Beckett, cause I'm sure that he can..."

"Oh stop." Derrick wrapped his knuckle with the pencil. "It's your idea. No one else will touch the house but you from now on."

"So, that makes me exclusive. Wow, price just went up." Ty smiled wide.

"Oh, here we go." Derrick rolled his eyes. "Okay, how much?"

"Well, print it out first, then we can get a material list, and have it bid."

"No, I'm talking you."

"Well, I'm already booked, so its...." Ty held up his hands.

"Seriously?" Derrick had that look. Ty chuckled.

"Consider it present." Ty said as he leaned forward to kiss Derrick, Derrick's eyes went wide, and then he smiled as he leaned forward as well, meeting each other over the table top.


Derrick and Ty both jumped at the same time, pulling away from each other. Conner laughed out loud, them not hearing him come in the back door. Derrick clutched his right side and groaned. They both looked in Conner's direction, as he walked across the kitchen, carrying a brown bag and then coming to Derrick's right at the table.

"Scared the shit out me, bud!" Ty said.

"You knew I was coming." Conner said with a smile, then looked down at Derrick's hand pushing into his side. "You alright, Derrick?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Derrick hissed out.

"What's wrong?" Conner said, looking and then glanced toward Ty, knowing something was up, but not what it really was. "What'd you do? Pull a muscle having sex or something?"

"Hardly." Derrick said, and slowly lifted his shirt. Conner saw the dressing and went wide eyed.

"What happened?" Conner said, sitting on the bench in front of him.

"There was an 'altercation' at Derrick's office." Ty said using two fingers to emphasize the word.

"You must run a rough place." Conner said, his eyes showing deep concern at what he saw. "Somebody get fired or something?"

"Knife fight." Ty said, raising an eyebrow toward Conner, who had a shocked look now.


"Long story," Derrick waved a hand in the air. "Let's just say the police arrested the guy who murdered my ex-business partner."

"He...what, stabbed you?" Conner was still wide eyed.

"No, more like...cut me."

"Jesus!" Conner said, and leaned back a little and then down, to get a closer look at the dressing. He sat up not really seeing much. "How bad is it?"

"Fourteen stitches."

"What?" Conner said, then looked at Ty, "Thanks for the phone call." Ty threw up his hands in the air. "So that's why you texted me this morning, thought something was up." Conner gave Ty a look that showed he was a little upset.

"Hey, at least I did that."

"Day late..." Conner shook his head, then looked at Derrick, giving Derrick soft eyes. "You really alright?" Derrick nodded.

"Yeah, just a little stiff and sore. Doctor said I would be, and he's right."

"Wow." Conner said. "So, yeah, when did this happen?"

"Yesterday afternoon." Derrick said. "It's fine, bud, really."

"Yeah, but, my God, this kind of shit isn't supposed to happen, right?"

"Not usually, no." Derrick sighed gently and sat back in the chair. He smiled weakly at Conner, and held out his hand out toward Ty. Ty locked his fingers into Derrick's, resting them on the table. "So, what's in the bag?" Derrick asked.

"It was supposed to be a surprise." Ty said, squeezing Derrick's fingers a little.

"Breakfast." Conner said, looking at Derrick. "Ty texted me this morning and asked me to stop and get something from that café bakery you love so much."

"Ooh, Drondy's? I love that place." Derrick said and looked at Ty.

"Yeah, you took me there, remember?" Ty asked, "the day I met his parents."

"That's right, we had lunch. You liked it, I remember."

"Yeah, I remembered that they had a breakfast menu, so I asked Conner to pick something up to surprise you, you know breakfast in bed." Ty smiled.

"Nice." Derrick said. "Wait, you texted Conner?"

"Uh, yeah, I do know how to text, you know?"

"Really, interesting." Derrick said.

"So, how many messages do you have on the phone you never use?" Conner asked in a smartass tone.

"Tons." Ty said almost in a whisper. "I'll be busy for a while, after it gets done charging up." Derrick and Conner laughed together, staring at Ty.

"That'll teach you." Conner said, shaking his head at Ty, then looked at Derrick, "But that doesn't excuse you, Mr. Tough Guy, you always carry your phone, and you didn't call. Tells me where I rate in all this."

"Well, sorry about that, bud, it was a little crazy with the emergency room, the police, you know, stuff like that."

"Sorry." Conner said and now he felt bad for chewing Derrick's butt.

"Paul doesn't even know." Derrick said raising an eyebrow.

"Oh, can't wait for that one." Conner rolled his eyes.

"You know, I did the last one to him," Ty said, "when they hauled you off to jail, maybe you should let Conner call him?" Ty asked, looking at Derrick.

"Ooh, I'm not dealing with that." Conner said, rolling his eyes. "Dude, you're the one that's here," Conner said to Ty, "I want hands free on that one."

"Yeah, he's a drama queen for sure." Derrick said, and they all laughed, Derrick clutching his side again, Conner looked worried, Derrick waved it off. Conner pulled out what was in the bag, and Ty moved the drafting supplies. Conner made more coffee, and then settled in at the table, as they started to eat.

"So, what are you going to do about cooking and stuff?"

"Hey," Ty looked up, "I can do it."

"Oh, you can't boil water without burning the fucking pan, just like me, Mr. Taco Truck." Conner rolled his eyes again, and pulled out his phone, not waiting for an answer from Derrick, opening it and texted away, he set the phone on the table, and then a couple of minutes later, Conner's phone signaled a message back. Conner picked it up again and stared at it, "Cavalry's on the way." Conner said and put the phone down. Ty looked at Derrick, and Derrick mouthed, 'Alec'. Ty winked in reply and finished his huge croissant sandwich.

"Wow, if I ate these all the time, I'd weigh three hundred pounds and look like Bart." Ty chuckled and Derrick went wide eyed at him. Ty smirked toward Derrick. "This was awesome, bud. Give me the tag."

"Oh, in your ass." Conner said, as he finished his and gave Ty a scowl. "After what you guys have done for me? And for Alec? Seriously? This was nothing." Ty just looked at him.

"So, what are you doing today? You're all dressed up." Derrick asked, sipping more coffee.

"I was going out to the park to reserve the meadow for the wedding." Conner said, with a smile.

"Really?" Derrick answered, with wide eyes. "That's awesome."

"Hope so." Conner said, still smiling. "It's what Alec wants, and flowers, lots of flowers. I need to stop by and see that florist in town, and get everything ordered I guess." Conner sighed, "The more I get done, the easier it will be on him, you know?"

Derrick smiled wide. "You're so sweet, you know that?"

"I've been told." Conner winked with a smile. "I just don't want him to stress, he doesn't handle it very well."

"Yeah, he does," Derrick said, "I've seen a few things that says he can handle it." Derrick paused and moved in the chair to get more comfortable. "So how many people do you think are coming?"

"Probably about fifty or sixty, mostly his family and some friends from the store."

"What about you?"

Conner smiled. "All I've got pretty much is you guys and Alec. Maybe a couple of college buddies from New York, but I doubt they'd show." Conner thought more for a second, then smiled at Derrick. "This is all about him. I want it to be perfect for him."

"Jesus." Ty said softly. Conner looked at him.


"You know, it's about you too, right?" Ty asked.

"No, it's about being happy and together. And if it makes him happy, then I'm down for it."

"Like I said, you're so sweet." Derrick grinned.

"Yeah, well...he's worth it." Conner smiled that dreamy smile of his, daydreaming of Alec.

"You've got it so bad." Ty smiled out of the corner of his mouth. Conner returned the smile.

"I ordered the cake this morning at Dondy's." Conner said, and Derrick's eyes went wide.

"Does he know?" Derrick asked. Conner shook his head.

"Like I said, I'm going to get everything done as fast as I can, so he doesn't have to worry about it. And I want it to be a surprise for him."

"Wow." Ty said, looking at Derrick and Ty could the wheels turning, as Ty knew that look Derrick had. "So, what can we do to help? I've never planned a wedding before?" Ty asked, Derrick was surprised by Ty's questions and looked at him, widening his eyes.

"That's nice of you, bud." Conner said, also surprised. "I want to do a reception, but I don't know where."

"Oh, that's easy." Derrick chuckled. Conner looked at him. "I'll call Emilio. You could have it at Lozano's."

"It's kind of a small place." Conner said, and Ty was thinking the same thing. Derrick smiled a little wider.

"There's another part of the building that he has. He rarely opens it up, only for special events, it will hold about one hundred fifty people. And if Emilio didn't cater it, Alec would be in so much trouble with him, oh my God, I can just see the looks already." Derrick rolled his eyes.

"Well that's awesome."

"I'll handle it." Derrick smiled. "He lives for this kind of thing. And he would be the happiest man on the planet."

"So I guess all that's left are the invitations." Conner said softly.

"Oh, there's a few other things to do, bud." Derrick chuckled. Conner looked up at him with a surprised look.

"What? What did I miss?" Conner had that look of shock.

"Conner," Derrick said, leaning a little, putting a hand on Conner's shoulder. "we would be happy to help you guys in any way, and I know your mind is just racing right now. You've got your new job starting in a couple of days, the new apartment, Alec is starting his new job soon," Derrick chuckled, "it's going to be a lot on you. Like Ty said, we'd like to help you plan it." Derrick gave him the soft eyes, Conner sighed seeing them, "We'll make a list, and if you want to keep it a surprise for him, which I think is great, we'll work it out just us, okay?"

"I don't know what to say." Conner just looked at him.

"Say you'll let us do it." Ty said, leaning on the table a little. Conner looked at Ty and smiled, then nodded. "Good, I knew you were smart." Ty wiggled his eyebrows. "Derrick can come up with a list, it'll give him something to do," Ty shifted his eyes to Derrick, then back to Conner, "then, we can break it up and get it handled."

"You guys are too much." Conner smiled reaching out his hands, taking one each of theirs, "How could I get so lucky having friends like you guys?"

"Blame your father." Derrick chuckled.

"Yeah, right?" Conner chuckled.

Derrick sat in the chair at the table and was lost in his drawing on the large sheet. He was moving his pencil and rulers, striking line after line on the large sheet bringing Ty's idea to life on the page. He would stop now and then, seeing what was there, and Derrick saw it coming together before him, making him smile. He knew the spot out front in such detail as he had imagined something like this actually going there once, a few years back after he had bought the house, but gave it up as he, like Ty had said, needed to tie in to the architectural lines of the house and not just look like some add on or after thought. Derrick worked some more details on the sheet, and was lost in thought to them, not hearing what was behind him.

Alec and Ty were behind him, putting bags on the counter, they had come through the back door, and had been quiet, but as they both knew Derrick and the way he could be when he was drafting, they just chuckled towards each other. Alec unpacked the bags with Ty and began to get things going, prepping for dinner. Alec planned to make up some dinners for the next couple of days so that Ty just had to heat them up, to keep Derrick from having to cook and strain himself. Ty had told him that he could just get take out, and Alec had stood there in the driveway and glared at him. Ty threw up his hands in surrender. Conner had texted Alec, giving Alec just the rough parts that Derrick had had an 'accident', Ty filled Alec in on the rest of it when he had gotten to the house.

Derrick smelled something, and wondered what it was, as he slowly set the pencil down, he turned his head, and saw Ty standing there behind him. Ty smiled and bent down, giving Derrick a kiss on the cheek. Ty motioned with his eyes only to Derrick, making Derrick look the other way, seeing Alec standing there. Derrick smiled and put up his arms, and Alec gave him a gentle hug.

"Hey!" Derrick said softly, "I thought I smelled your cooking."

"Yeah, I got the call, right?" Alec said in Derrick's ear, then kissed it. "When you do it, you really do it big, don't you?"

"Well, you know me, Mr. Sensational." Derrick chuckled, as did Alec. "So, this is really nice of you to do." Derrick said as Alec backed up a little.

"Orders from the husband." Alec gave Derrick a goofy look. "Besides, you need the help, and I'm more than happy to do it, you know that."

"I do, and I love you for it." Derrick smiled wide. Alec gave him a kiss on the cheek. Derrick looked back, seeing Ty bent over his shoulder looking at the large sheet and what was on it.

"Wow, this is...way more than I thought." Ty said softly.

"I guess I got a little carried away." Derrick said, equally as soft. "Is it too much?"

"No, just looks bigger than..."

"Well, I thought about that, and was thinking, why not make it for two vehicles?"


"Well, yeah, you have the truck, I have the car, that makes two." Derrick looked confused.

"Oh." Ty said, then stood straight.

"You would have the same problem with the truck in the snow, why not cover it as well?"

"I suppose, but, never thought of it, really." Ty said. "I like the looks of it though, and it almost looks 3D on the page," Ty smiled at Derrick, "it's like I can almost touch it. And you drew the tree out that's out there as well. You drew it...with casting shadows even."

"Yeah, I got a little carried away, like I said." Derrick said, pursing his lips together. "Sorry."

"For what?" Ty chuckled, "You ought to do this for a living, you know that?" Alec laughed softly, watching Ty tease Derrick.

"You bitch." Derrick chuckled, and slapped Ty's butt with his left hand.

"Hey, that's Mr. Bitch to you." Ty said, sticking his butt out a little more, "Now, do the other side."

"Get away from me." Derrick pushed him a little, and then looked at Alec. "You know, something smells amazing."

"Chicken Picatta." Alec said, and then wiggled his eyebrows. "That's for the night after next, I'll make a lasagna for Tuesday that Ty can bake, without burning it,..."

"Hey..." Ty said.

"And tonight is stuffed Portobello's."

"Wow." Derrick said softly. "Sure you want to marry Conner?"

"Hey...?" Ty said again, then bumped Derrick in the shoulder.

"Yeah, I'm sure." Alec smiled, then winked at Derrick.

"Damn, that's too bad." Derrick winked back at Alec, "You and me, be quite a team."

"Ah..." Ty said, putting his hands on his hips. "Well, I know when I'm not wanted. I'll be outside." Ty rolled his head and walked out toward the back door.

"He's not mad is he?" Alec asked, Derrick chuckled a little, shaking his head.

"No, he's playing, just like I am." Derrick said, sliding his sheets closer to him. "But seriously, this is really sweet of you Alec, doing all this?"

"For you, Derrick, it's no problem." Alec bent down and kissed his cheek again. Alec went back to the stove, watching Derrick start to draw again.

"I see, Mr. Van Owen," The older man said behind the small rough desk, he gave a smile toward Conner, that highlighted the lines in his face, "it's a little short notice, but I think it's possible. Would you like me to show you the meadow?"

"I spent some time here as a boy, it's one of the only good memories of being with my father that I have." Conner answered, as the memory was flooding his mind. "That won't be necessary, I know that you're a busy man." Conner said, as he snapped around. "Is there paperwork or anything that needs to be done to make the reservation?"

"There is a form, yes." The older man opened a drawer and pulled out a single sheet, handing it to Conner, "There is a little deposit required for the permit as well."

"Of course." Conner said as he looked the permit form over. He got up from his chair and went to the little counter in the office and quickly filled it out, then returned it to the older man. "How much do you need?" Conner asked with a smile as the older man scanned the form, then looked up at Conner.

"It's a fifty dollar permit fee. Are you going to have a reception here?"

"No, just the ceremony, sir."

"I see." He looked at the form again, then back at Conner. "Well, in that case, let me ask you a couple of questions..."

Ty was on the small scaffold and nearing completion of the rock wall. He sensed someone was behind him and looked over his shoulder. He saw Alec was leaning against the large doorway jamb, just watching him. Ty smiled at him.

"What's going on?" Ty asked.

"I half expected you to be naked doing this, like you with sheetrock." Alec said, as he started to come across the floor toward Ty. Ty smiled wide at him. "This looks so awesome."

"Thanks." Ty said, looking back at the rock, then back at Alec. "Derrick still at it?"

"Yeah. He's doing it in color now. It looks really great." Alec said, as Ty climbed down. Ty went and got a few more pieces of the rock. "What are you doing with those?"

"Have to cut them for the angle of the ceiling. So, what's going on in the kitchen?"

"Well, I'm waiting for the sauce for the lasagna, it needs to simmer for another hour or so."

"Oh, so you have some time on your hands?" Ty smiled.

"Kind of, I was just wondering what you were doing out here." Alec said softly. Ty narrowed his eyes at him.

"Something's bothering you, bud, what is it?"

"Well, it's Conner." Alec said, having a hard time saying it.

"Don't tell me there's trouble in paradise?" Ty stood up from picking up the stone.

"No, it's not that, it's...well, he's just being...well, he won't tell me where he is."

"Oohhh." Ty said, rolling his head a little. "You think he's..." Ty raised his eyebrows.

"No, he wouldn't do that." Alec pursed his lips together, "It's seems like he's keeping secrets or something."

"Bah!" Ty said, waving a hand a little in the air, "You know Conner, weight of the world...he's almost as bad as Derrick." Ty said, raising an eyebrow, "He's not hiding anything."

"What did he say this morning? When he was here?"

"He said he had some errands to do." Ty said, seeing Alec lose the worried look. "Why don't you talk to him? Tonight, when he gets back?"

"Tonight?" Alec looked surprised, "What do you mean, tonight?"

"I mean, tonight, you know, when you guys are in bed...together...before you start jumping each other?" Alec rolled his eyes. Ty smiled, and let out a silent sigh. He smiled briefly. "I know you guys can't keep your hands off each other." Ty grinned.

"I would say the same about you guys." Alec said, folding his arms over his chest.

"Well, kinda." Ty grinned real big. "Derrick being hurt and all has put that on hold."

"Wait till he's done healing, and then look out."

"I so can't wait." Ty said. "So, you want to help me, or go back to your cooking?"

"Will I get dirty?"

"Yeah." Ty said, giving him a strange look.

"Then I better not. Cooking and...brick laying don't mix." Alec smiled.

Conner shook the older man's hand and left the office. He climbed into the rental car he still had, and thought about it. He pulled his phone out and texted Alec. He waited and Alec texted him back a reply. Conner smiled, then his phone rang. Conner chuckled as he took the call.

"Are you in the kitchen?" Conner asked, in a sexy voice.

"Yes." Alec said, in his cheerful tone.

"What are you wearing?"


"Okay." Conner sighed.

"Oh...I guess I didn't get it. Blew it, didn't I?"

"Don't worry about it." Conner chuckled. "Just a silly game. How long will you be at the house?"

Ah, a while." Alec said. "I'm putting together the lasagna right now. Have to clean up and put everything away."

"Derrick still drawing?"

"Yeah, he's lost."

"Ty working outside?"

"Yeah, he's doing the wall with the...rock stuff."


"Whatever." Alec said quickly. "Why, what's up?"

"Remember when I said we needed to talk about buying big stuff?"

"Oh, geez." Alec said, his eyes going wide.

"Well, I need to return the rental car..."

"You want to buy a car..." Alec said in a droll voice. There was silence on the other end. Then his eyes widened. "You want to buy a car?! Really?"

"Not without you, babe."

"I...but, I..."

"Hang on...get a hold of yourself." Conner said, "I'll meet you at the house in a bit. Then we have one place we need to go together, it's kind of important."

"The car lot?"

"No, it's not the car lot." Conner laughed, "That's later. This other place, is for the two of us."

"Really? Is"

"I think so."

"Can we...?"

"Get naked? Maybe, but it might be awkward."

"Oh." Alec said, deflating a little in his tone.

"Someone got the hornys?" Conner asked.

"You know what cooking does to me."

"Yeah, I know, and you're going to work in a restaurant. Horn dog all the time."

"Only for you, baby, only for you." Alec smiled.

"I'll see you in a while. I love you."

"I love you too." Alec smiled, shutting off his phone, wondering where they were going.

"Husband on the way?" Derrick asked from the table, with his back to Alec. Alec raised his eyebrows, and then smiled.

Conner said goodbye to Derrick, giving him a kiss, leaving him at the table. Ty was there at the counter going over the written instructions for dinner with Alec. Ty was paying attention closely as Conner walked around and got behind Alec, teasing his butt with a hand, Alec was trying to push his hand away by pushing his butt out. Ty looked and smiled, Conner was wiggling his eyebrows, Ty rolled his eyes.

"Say goodbye to the nice man, honey," Conner leaned in and said in Alec's ear, "we have to get going."

"Will you stop?" Alec said, looking over his shoulder.

"I think I got it, bud." Ty said. "It looks pretty simple, the way you wrote it."

"Yeah, but, you can dry them out..."

"He can read English, babe, and he can call you if he has a question."

"It will be fine, Alec, I promise. And I'll see you guys in the morning with the truck."

"Oh yeah, moving day, I almost forgot." Alec said, shifting his weight to one foot."

"Say goodbye now, to the nice man." Conner said again, and leaned forward, Ty met him and they kissed each other. Alec kissed Ty softly on the cheek as well, and then went around the counter, and gave Derrick a gentle hug and then a kiss.

"Thanks again." Derrick said in Alec's ear. "It means a lot to me."

"It's no problem. I'll see you in the morning."

"You bet, I'm looking forward to it." Derrick said with a smile.

"And I've got breakfast already in the making."

"Can't wait." Derrick smiled and Conner and Alec left, Conner having to drag Alec out by the hand. Derrick and Ty heard the familiar sound of Alec's muffler on his car.

"Conner say where they were going?" Ty asked, as he sat on the bench near Derrick.

"Something about a printer and invitations." Derrick said.

"Hmm, guess that one can come off the list, huh?"

"Yeah." Derrick smiled and then spun the finalized drawing around for Ty. "What do you think?"

"Oh My God!" Ty said, as he got to his feet. He looked at Derrick and then back at the large sheet. "It's beautiful. You have lines and details that match the's got good proportion...I love it in color like's so...alive."

"Pretty cool, huh?" Derrick said as he leaned forward a little. "The only question is, do we do it this year or next?"

"Why? What are you thinking?"

"Well, with all those messages you have on your phone, I might have a hard time working into your schedule."

"Hmmm, you have a point there." Ty said, scratching his chin, giving Derrick a half grin. "I might have to change my rates."

"Oh boy, here we go." Derrick shook his head.

"But first, I think you need to go lay down for a while." Ty said. "You've been here at the table all day."

"Yeah, and I'm comfortable."

"Yes, but you need to rest too." Ty said, reaching out a hand. "Are you going to argue with me?"

"No, I guess not, well, at least not today." Derrick said, taking Ty's hand and slowly getting up. They walked to the bedroom together slowly.

Conner pulled up to the curb and parked, Alec was behind him and parked. Conner got out and went up on the sidewalk, Alec joined him as he looked at the building, clearly not what he was expecting. Conner smiled and walked inside, almost dragging Alec along with him.

"What are you thinking?" Conner asked, looking over his shoulder, "I was dragging you off to a doctor or something?"

"What are we doing here?" Alec asked, stopping, making Conner turn around.

"Uh, wedding invitations?" Conner asked with wide eyes.

"What?" Alec looked shocked.

"Yeah, I figured the sooner, the better." Conner said, looking worried now. Alec softened and then a little sad. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing." Alec said.

"No, what's wrong?"

"I thought you know."

"You thought I was screwing around, didn't you?"

"Well, I know you wouldn't, but it was in the back of my mind, I guess." Alec looked at the floor. "You've been doing things about the wedding, haven't you?"

"How do you know?"

"Cause I know you." Alec said, lifting his face to meet Conner's. "That's why you won't tell me where you are and what you're doing."

"Yeah, I wanted it to be a surprise. I didn't want you stressing over everything."

"Well, I appreciate that very much, but, it is OUR wedding. I'd like to be involved, if that's alright?"

"Whatever you want, babe."

"Can I help you gentlemen?" A soft voice came from behind Conner. He turned around and saw a young girl standing there, smiling at them.

"Yes, we'd like to see about some invitations." Conner said. She looked at both of them and then realized, and nodded her head.

"Right this way." She said and led them to a large round table, that had thick books on it. She opened them and started to show them the differences in papers, colors, and types of print. Alec saw a few that impressed him as Conner stayed relatively quiet. Alec seemed to be getting excited about it all, and Conner was pleased. After about an hour, decisions were finally made, and everything was set to form. Conner pulled out his card and paid for the order, and they thanked her for her help. They left and Conner was smiling having something else done. They got into their cars and Conner started driving, heading for Alec's old studio. Alec had empty boxes in his car and the plan had been to pack up Alec tonight and do the cleaning. The bed and anything else was for tomorrow with Ty's truck. Conner saw something on a car lot as he drove by, catching his eye and slowed down, he pulled up to the curb and parked, Alec had been in the lead and didn't see Conner at first pull off.

Conner walked onto the lot and saw the car. It dazzled him, and he looked it over as the guy came over, standing behind him, some distance off, he watched Conner for a minute as he walked around it, looking it over.

"It looks pretty nice, doesn't it?" The guy asked making Conner turn a little, knowing in the back of his mind, it wouldn't be long before a salesman was on him.

"Yeah, it does." Conner said, looking back at the car.

"It's good in the snow, too. Has a nice weight and balance to it."

"I'm sure it does." Conner said. He heard Alec coming back, as he had apparently circled around, not seeing Conner behind him. Conner smiled as Alec pulled up behind his rental and parked. Alec got out, frowning, and walked over, standing in front of the car, crossing his arms over his chest. "What do you think?"

"Nice." Alec said, with a tone. "I thought we were going to my place?"

"Yeah, we'll get there." Conner looked up at him. "You know, I have to give the rental back, soon. I need something. Can't use your car for work."

"I thought we were going to talk about it first."

"You're right. No harm in looking, is there?"

Alec rolled his eyes, and walked toward Conner. "Yeah, your kind of looking means buying." Alec walked past Conner and headed for the salesman and stopped in front of him. They talked for a minute, Alec pointing back over his shoulder now and then, as Conner looked the car over. The guy walked off and then came back a couple of minutes later with a small booklet, handing it to Alec, as Alec was looking the car over. Alec thanked him, and opened it, seeing specs of the motor and drivetrain. Conner was looking over Alec's shoulder, wondering what he was doing. Alec was running his finger down the page, checking this and that and Conner was getting lost with what he was doing. Alec turned and looked at the salesman.

"Do you know the specs? Without having to look them up?"

"Well, I...can tell you about a few things."

"That's what I thought", as Alec looked at the sticker on the window, comparing it to the booklet. He turned and looked at Conner. "Why this one?"


"Why do you like the car?" Alec asked. "Do you know anything about it? Have you seen one before?"

"No. Why the third degree?" Conner asked, cocking his head a little.

"Simple, my father owns a car lot. I grew up with it, buying and selling, wrenching. Do you know anything about cars?"

"I know they go." Conner said, thinking he was the village idiot now. Alec sighed.

"There are two kinds of car shoppers. Ones who buy for looks, the others buy because they researched and know what they want. So, why this one?" Alec had a dead pan serious look on his face.

"I like the looks." Conner said softly, and gulped.

"Fine. Honest answer, the car looks good. I agree, the car does look good. But, before you get all set on buying it, you should probably look at what it can do first, as you'll spend a lot of time in it. Is it safe? Is it reliable? It's new, so there has got to be a warranty, is there an extended warranty? Probably look at some reviews from other people that have bought the same model, are they happy with it? Are there any problems? You see what I mean?"

"Jesus, you sound like my father." Conner was deflated.

"No, I just know what I'm talking about. I watched people buy cars from my dad for years, some were happy, some weren't. I learned. That's why I drive what I drive, and I'm happy."

"Not gonna lie, you have a sexy little car, but I can't drive something like that to show clients who are buying a house." Conner said.

"You need something with style, I understand that, and you're right. But, before we commit to spending twenty grand, I think we should do some research."

"Level head. This is why I love you."

"No, it's my tight ass." Alec said as he leaned into Conner, kissing him on the cheek.

"Well...there is that, too." Conner wiggled his eyebrows.

Alec walked over to the salesman and shook his hand, explaining what they were going to do, and took one of the guys cards. He put it in his back pocket and walked toward Conner, pulling him by the elbow and leading him away, Alec pulled out his phone with the other hand, opening it, and putting it to his ear.

"Papa," Alec said, and smiled hearing his father's voice, "are you still at work?" Alec looked at Conner, and put a hand to Conner's chest, "Yes, we're downtown. What?...okay,...okay, bye."

"What?" Conner asked.

"You will get in your car, you follow me, you will not stop, until I do." Alec said, sounding very firm. Conner hadn't heard like this before, and he thought it was incredibly hot.

"Okay. Where are we going? You're old place?"

"No, not yet." Alec said, Conner's eyes widened, "We're going to see my parents." Alec walked away, and Conner gulped.

Alec pulled up in the little space of the driveway, as there were tons of cars there, and on the street. The house was moderately sized with a large porch on the front, with a couple of steps. The yard was nicely landscaped, there were roses and flowers in the beds, and a small pine tree in the center of the larger part of the front yard, which was divided by a sidewalk that led up from the street sidewalk up to the steps. Conner had to park across the street and down a house from all of the cars. He got out and walked toward Alec, feeling and looking very nervous. Alec smiled at him.

"I don't know if I'm ready for this." Conner said, looking at the house.

"Babe, they're gonna love you, and the way you're dressed, my sister is going to be all over you," Alec frowned and lifted his finger, "don't get any ideas."


"She's really hot, just sayin, hands off." Alec smiled. Conner just stared at him, then Alec pulled him up onto the lawn and they walked toward the house and up on the porch. Conner let out a deep breath as Alec opened the door, walking in, the noise from inside hit Conner as the door opened, his eyes went wide from it all.

"Marcello!" Came cries from several people in the living room. Conner didn't know who they were calling to at first. Everyone came running almost at once as Conner stepped in behind Alec, closing the door in the cool room. Hugs went all around with Alec and all these people, who were obviously family, as Conner could see the strong resemblance in the men. And then Conner saw an older version of Alec coming across the room. He was stunning, just like Alec, but his temples were grey. He smiled just like Alec, and Alec was sucked into him, big arms went around Alec's shoulders and back and hands patted Alec. Then the lady came into the room and all parted for her, and Conner knew she was Alec's mother. Alec pulled away from his father and went to her, and she cradled his cheeks as stopped in front of her, staring into his face for a long moment and then kissed each of his cheeks. Alec gave her a hug, and then kissed her as well. Conner just stood there as all eyes were now on him.

"Marcello, who is this?" His mother asked him smiling, looking at Conner. Alec gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, and then slowly walked to Conner and took him by the hands. Alec smiled at him, feeling Conner's palms were wet, then turned back toward everyone.

"Everyone, this is Conner." Conner nodded a little toward everyone, "We have something to tell you." Alec looked toward Conner, and their eyes met, and then Alec looked back at his family. "We're getting married." There were a few gasps and then a couple of squeals from the girls, and then they all moved toward them, Alec's father first, he stepped close and threw his arms around Conner's neck and hugged him very tight, patting his back. Conner wanted to cough from the hits, but it was good, and a good feeling to him. Everyone gathered around them and were hugging Alec and then Conner, and Conner got kissed so many times on his cheeks, he thought he was going to need dental work, as hard as they were hitting him, and squeezing his jaw. Conner was overwhelmed by it all. He had never had a family in his life, and now there seemed to be dozens of them, all at once. He loved it, and he glowed.

When Alec's mother came forward, that was the best of all to Conner, she cradled his cheeks, as she had done with Alec, not saying a word, but scanned Conner's eyes with hers, and then that warm smile, that mothers are supposed to give to their children, was on her face, and she pulled him down to her, kissing his cheeks, and then she hugged him, holding him to her, and then she let him go slowly, and when Conner stood straight, he could see her tears running down her cheeks, and it crushed him, but in a warm way, knowing they were tears of joy and not pain.

"Oh, Marcello," She said, as she looked at Alec, "you have done well. He has a good heart, it's in his eyes, I can see it."

"Yes, Mama, he does." Alec said, looking at Conner and then pulled him in for a soft kiss. Everyone in the room cheered and clapped. Conner didn't feel embarrassed at all, not with these warm and caring people, but Alec was beet red. Conner chuckled at him. Alec composed himself and started to introduce Conner to everyone, his mother and father first of course, his father, Alejandro, said that they would have a talk in a while and winked at Conner. Alec formally introduced his mother, Marcella, to Conner, and he kissed her cheek this time, making her blush.

All of Alec's older brothers were there, Matteo, Rinaldo, Rafaele, along with wives, and kids, then Conner was introduced to Lucia, Alec's older sister, and Alec was right, she was hot, and probably had a string of boyfriends lining up down the block, and Alec was right also, she was not the only one, the youngest, Rosina, the baby of the family, only thirteen, was a knock out as well, and Conner discovered, a bit of a flirt. She hung on him, batting her eyes, and smiling, until Alec shooed her away. As small talk was going around the room, Alec was drug off to the kitchen, by his older sister, and his mother, leaving Conner alone with everyone else. The kids all warmed up to Conner, especially little Robert, only three, he started to play with Conner, bringing a ball to him, and it was on, he wouldn't leave Conner alone, and Conner loved it, and eventually little Robert was sitting in Conner's lap while everyone got to know Conner, and he them. Why hadn't they done this sooner, Conner thought to himself. Alejandro pulled Conner out of the living room and took him out into the back yard, to have their 'talk', Conner supposed. Alejandro had poured wine, and handed Conner a glass, and little Robert tagged along.

The back yard was immaculately landscaped, and you could see it was done for entertaining purposes as well as for the children. Conner felt very much at ease as they went out toward the back area of the yard, Alejandro was polite in his questions and Conner held nothing back from him, being completely honest and open.

"You know, Conner, I have had to struggle all of my life, for my family, it was difficult with so many..." He smiled at Conner, as Robert was holding up his little arms and hands to be picked up by Conner, Conner knelt down and picked him up, holding him to him with one arm, still clutching the wine glass in the other hand. Alejandro smiled seeing them, as Robert lay his little head against Conner's shoulder and yawned.

"Mr. Marquez, I can understand it was difficult, but it looks to me that you have done a wonderful job with your beautiful family and your beautiful home."

"Please, Alejandro..." He smiled, and Conner saw Alec in him so much, and knew that Alec would one day look exactly like his father when he would be his age. This man was beautiful and very warm toward Conner.

"Alejandro..." Conner smiled, "but if it's money you're concerned about for Alec, let me assure you that that it is not a problem. I have taken steps to make sure that Alec will never want or need for anything for the rest of his life."

"Meaning?" Alejandro asked.

"Several retirement accounts have been opened in Alec's name, as well as a savings account. Should anything ever happen to me or us, Alec will be taken care for the rest of his life." The elder man's eyes widened. "Your son is the most important thing in the world to me, and I would do anything to make sure he is happy and taken care of. I love him, sir." A tear welled in the elder man's eye hearing Conner.

"My son," Alejandro said, putting a hand on Conner's bent arm, holding the little one up, who was drifting off to sleep now, "you have made an old man happy, and very proud to welcome you into this family." They smiled at each other, and the tear that had welled dropped from his eye.

Alec, his mother and his sisters, along with Alec's oldest brother, Matteo, all stood at the kitchen window looking out at the three in the backyard. They all knew that Conner was getting the 'talk', and they had been watching them the entire time. The women all cooed and sighed when Conner had bent down and picked up little Robert and held him, and all had put their hands on Alec as he wanted to cry seeing the love of his life with his little nephew. He knew Conner wanted kids, they had talked about it, briefly the other day, after making mad passionate love together, and Alec wanted to have them as well, but not right now. Their careers were just starting or would start very soon. Seeing Conner with his father and the way his father had just touched Conner, Alec knew that Conner was completely accepted, and he so loved him, more than ever now. It was almost perfect to Alec. They watched as Conner and Alejandro turned in the back yard and started to walk slowly back to the house together, Alec watched his father take Conner's other arm and tuck it into his own as they walked slowly. Everyone else saw it and scattered quickly.

Conner walked into the living room, carrying little Robert in his arm, he was sound asleep. His mother, Andrea, smiled up at Conner and took him from Conner, turning little Robert and held him against her.

"He usually doesn't like strangers, takes him a while to get warmed up." Andrea smiled.

"Must be the blonde hair." Conner smiled and then ran his fingers up and down the little back that was facing him. She smiled back at him. "You need a babysitter, let us know." Conner winked. She smiled wide. "Is Alec still in the kitchen?" Conner asked, looking around the room. Everyone pretty much nodded toward him, he smiled and was pointed in the general direction. Conner walked in the direction of pointed fingers and quickly found the kitchen, all of them in a huddle, talking.

"Am I interrupting?" Conner asked as he stopped in the doorway. All eyes turned toward him, making him smile. Alec stepped forward and came to him.

"No, not at all, I was just catching them up. It's been a while since I've been home, you know."

"I know." Conner said, looking only at Alec, then kissed him softly. "And that needs to change."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you need to be here, more often than you have been. I've kept you from them for too long."

"Oh, babe, it wasn't you, it was me, work, doing other things..."

"Yeah, me." Conner smiled, and then looked beyond Alec, "Mrs. Marquez, I promise you, I'll have him here more often than he has been."

"See? I like this boy, I told you." Alejandro said, looking at his wife. She stepped forward and came up beside Alec, looking up into Conner's eyes.

"You come when he comes, you understand?" She smiled softly and so did Conner.

"Yes, ma'am." Conner said.

"We should be going." Alec said softly.

"Where are you going? You just got here." She asked, gripping Alec's arm.

"Mama, we have to pack up the apartment and get ready for the move tomorrow, to our new place." Alec said softly.

"What about dinner? I was cooking..."

"Mama, we'll be back another time. We have to get this done, Conner starts his new job on Monday, and I have to clean up the old apartment."

"That dump?" she asked as she rolled her eyes. "I don't know why you moved in there, you should have stayed at home and not wasted your money."

"Mama, you know why I moved in there, you and Papa both, now come on, we have to get going and get this done. Once the new apartment is all set, I promise, we'll have everyone over for dinner, and I'll cook. Okay?" Alec knew how to work her, that was obvious to Conner as she was melting before his eyes.

"Alright, if you say so." She smiled a faint smile up at him. "I will get the girls and we will meet you, and help you clean, even if it is a dump." Alec shook his head.

"We can do it, Mama." Alec said.

"Are you going to argue with me?" She asked, waving a finger at him.

"No Mama, you know I can't win that one." Alec smiled and then kissed her forehead. "We'll be there at nine."

"Fine, so will we." She said with a firm voice, and the girls behind her knew they had been recruited. Alec gave her a hug and then left her and went to his father, hugging him as well, and then his sisters. Conner was hugged by everyone as well, and they walked to the living room heading for the front door, Alec's brothers, wives, and kids were all there, except little Robert, who still asleep, and everyone hugged, and Alec and Conner walked out and went to the front sidewalk to Alec's car.

"Are you okay?" Alec asked softly. Conner nodded with a smile. He looked softly at Alec.

"That was one of the best times of my life." Conner was all smiles now, "Your family is incredible. We should have done this a long time ago."

"No, you are incredible." Alec said, leaning against the rear of his car, pulling Conner into him by Conner's hips. "My mother absolutely adores you, I can tell, and the best part and the clincher was when you were in the back yard with Papa, and you picked up little Robert, and he put his head on your shoulder. She almost cried."

"Oh God." Conner whispered, looking back at the house.

"No, it's a good thing. She saw you did it without thinking, picking him up because he asked you to."

"He's so cute." Conner said.

"And so are you." Alec said, shining in the late afternoon sun. "Let's go buy that car now."


"The car, the one you like, remember?"

"Why the sudden change?"

"I talked to my father, he said it was a good car, he said to go buy it." Alec winked. "As long as I get to drive it now and then."

"Whatever you want, babe, whatever you want. Conner smiled and then kissed Alec softly.



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