“It’s okay,” Tracy said as she bounced RJ on her lap. Back home during a break, she had come to visit and catch up. “It took almost all year, but I think I finally have a handle on things. You seem to have a handle on things here.”
Unlike the last time she’d seen me shortly after graduation, a smile lifted my lips that was not tinged with the sadness about my relationship with my parents. I had come to realize that someday I’d probably lose them because of my relationship with Ryan and while it was sad, I had made my peace with it. “Yeah. It’s good. Great really. I’m happy and love being a mother. In fact, I’m pregnant again.”
“Oh, my… That’s fantastic! Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I just found out about a week ago. You’re the only one who knows besides the father.”
“Is it the same guy?”
While it was a friendly question, I could hear a slight tinge of judgement in her tone at the idea that I might have two children from two different men. Ignoring it, I said, “Yes.”
“So who is it?” she asked conspiratorially. “Michael? David?”
“Ew! No!” Despite my disgust, I laughed. It felt good to be with Tracy again.
“‘Ew?’ Really? You dated both of them for over a year. And I know Michael really liked you.”
“I know, but they were not ‘the one.'”
“So this mystery guy was ‘the one’? Why are you still living with your brother then? Why aren’t you with him? Is he married or something?”
“No, nothing like that. In fact, he loves me. A lot. And we’re still together.” Because she hadn’t noticed the ring yet, I held up my hand to show her.
“Rachel! You got married?”
“Not officially, but something like that.”
“So who is he?”
I took a deep breath. I knew it was a bad idea, but I couldn’t keep the secret any longer from my oldest and closest friend. “Ryan.”
“Ryan, the guy I’m living with, Ryan.”
Tracy’s eyes went wide. She looked down at my four-month-old son sitting on her knee and her face twisted in revulsion. “Get him off me.”
“What?” I asked as I reached out for RJ. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t want to believe it’s true but somehow I know that it is. Your brother, Rachel? I get that you thought he was cute but this is disgusting. You’re disgusting. And so is he. And so is that…that… That!”
I sat in shocked silence as Tracy stormed out of the apartment. Despite her reaction, I was not sad. It was upsetting to lose my best friend—and I knew in my soul that Tracy was gone from my life forever—but I felt a lightening of spirit from not hiding anymore. For better or worse, this was my life, my decision and through whatever storms would come, I knew Ryan would be with me.
What I didn’t realize was how quickly the weather was about to turn.
Less than ten minutes after Tracy left, my phone rang. Looking at the screen, I was surprised to see that it was my mother. Knowing it was not a coincidence, my hands shook as I picked it up and answered. I had never heard such vitriolic, hateful words as those she yelled at me. In the background I could hear my father threatening to have Ryan arrested. When Renee informed him that he had no sway over me because I had been eighteen at the time, he yelled at her for her defense of us then left the room yelling that he was going find Ryan and kill him. Tears flowed from my eyes as I begged my mother to understand, begged her to give it some time to see that we weren’t just messing around, but it just made her angrier to think that I would try to make her see my relationship with Ryan as being anything but sinful and an abomination. As she spewed out more hatred, I heard the door to their house slam shut.
After a beat of silence during which I sobbed uncontrollably, she said, “I hope your father finds him and beats him to within an inch of his disgusting life. He’s never given us anything but trouble since the day he was born and I’m done with him.
“And you, for as much damage as you’ve done to this family, for you, I hope that little bastard of yours never causes you even a tenth of the pain and hurt you’ve given us.”
With that, she disconnected the call.
Still shaking, I called Ryan at work and got his voicemail. After paging him, he had a coworker call me back to say he was on the phone with Renee and would call me once he finished.
After an hour, I still had not heard from him so I called him again. Upon getting his voicemail, I called Renee to see if they were still on the phone. When she answered, I asked if she knew what might have happened to him but she said she hadn’t heard anything since their call. Still on the phone with her while I cried through my emotion, about half an hour later Ryan entered the apartment.
Relieved to see him, I disconnected from Renee and ran to embrace him. It wasn’t until I pulled away that I saw his face was bruised and bloody and his clothes were soiled with dirt and blood. “What happened?”
“He came into the building yelling and security dragged bahis firmaları him out. I went outside to talk to him and he rushed me and just started swinging.”
I started to cry again. Even after my conversation with my mother, I had never actually expected things to get violent.
Ryan continued, “I took one or two because I understand why he’s upset. I do. But he started saying things about you, things that he had no right to say. He can talk about me and smack me around, but I wasn’t going to let him disrespect you like that. I don’t give a fuck who he is and how pissed he is, he can’t say shit like that about you. “
“What did he say?”
Ryan shook his head as he pulled me into a hug. “You don’t need to hear that. And don’t look for an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner, or anything ever again for that matter. After security pulled us apart, he said he was disowning us and to never call him or Mom. Oh, and because of the fight, I got fired.”
“Oh, no. It’s all my fault. I told Tracy and she called Mom and—”
“It’s okay. It needed to happen.” He pulled away from me slightly so he could see my face. I was surprised to see a genuine small smile on his even though there were tears running down his cheeks. “And it’s a good thing. It means we can start looking for a new place and get moved and settled sooner. We can start living our lives together the way we want to. I’ll be able to hug you and kiss you and tell everyone about my amazing wife and show off my beautiful son—my beautiful children.”
He placed a hand on my belly and rubbed it gently. “I’ll be able to show off my family. It sucks that it happened this way, but now there’s really nothing holding us here. We’re free.”
While I was sad, he was right.
We were free.
I pressed a gentle kiss to his swollen, bloody lips then led him into our bathroom to help get him cleaned.
It was nice having him around for a few days, though he busied himself with making calls to locate somewhere for us to live. In less than a week, he’d found a few places that had potential and he flew out to check on them in person. After multiple calls with me during his visits, we settled on one and he signed the lease before returning home.
“We forgot to grab bread.”
I sighed heavily and began to turn the shopping cart around. “Why are we stupid? That’s really the only reason we came.”
“Stay. I’ll go. Be right back.”
As he walked quickly down the aisle, I moved slowly to grab a few jars of baby food off the shelf.
We were going to be moving in two days and were now down to buying things only if we needed them. Gary had been upset to hear that we were leaving. But because he and Ryan had a friend looking for a place, it made things easier that there was someone willing to take over Ryan’s part of the rent.
Continuing with my shopping, I went into the next aisle and stopped short. Facing me was the shocked, then angry face of the woman who had given birth to me. In the time that I’d been living with Ryan, she’d never been near our area of the city, but I was not surprised to see her. Renee had told me that her parents—that’s how I now thought of them since it was clear we were no longer a part of the family—were taking care of a church member who lived near us.
I saw her eyes go wide as I felt Ryan’s presence approach from behind me. He placed a supportive hand on the small of my back and gently pushed me forward wanting to get me away from her. I raised a hand to calm RJ’s continued bouncing and happy babbling and saw her spot the ring on my finger.
She glanced at Ryan’s hand and her face twisted into something that was almost inhuman with anger and rage upon seeing his ring. “You—”
“Choose your words carefully,” Ryan said slowly but with authority as he stepped into her space with a threatening look on his face. The woman I used to call mother was taller than me and only three inches shorter than Ryan, but his demeanor made him appear to tower over her by much more. “I understand you’re upset, but that’s my wife—yes, I’m calling her my wife—and the mother of my children. Oh, yeah. She’s pregnant again. Anyway, if I’ve learned nothing else from you and that man it’s that I have a duty to protect my family. And I will. So, we’re going to walk away and you’re going to finish your shopping. Have a nice day.”
A few steps later, I heard the sound of a basket hit the floor behind me. At the end of the aisle, as we turned out of it, I glanced back and saw that the woman had placed her shopping on the ground, obviously having left the store without it. That was the last interaction I ever had with her.
“Is she okay?”
I nodded as I closed our bedroom door. “Yeah, she’s fine. Just needed to go potty. We need furniture,” I added the non sequitur in almost the same breath.
“I just bought you a fucking house,” Ryan groused, spreading his arms dramatically. “Now you want more shit?”
Since we left behind our old life and Ryan began his new job, our new life kaçak iddaa had steadily gotten better for us. Ryan was excelling at the company and, with another promotion under his belt, he had been able to save enough money for us to put a decent down payment on the house we’d just moved into.
I climbed onto the bed where he lay in his boxers and straddled his waist. “Yes. Unless you want to keep sitting on the floor to have dinner.”
Ryan rolled his eyes then gave me a mischievous grin. “Fine. But I want something.”
Enunciating each word, I said slowly, “You’ll have a chair to sit on.”
“I want to have another kid.”
I could feel him getting hard beneath me. Though I had been thinking about having another child as well and had planned to approach him after we got settled in the house, I wasn’t going to give in that easily. “We already have three. How many more do you want? And it’ll cost you more than a table and chairs.”
“Come on, Rach.” He rolled his hips up against me. “Ry’s almost two, Rosie’s potty trained now, and RJ needs a brother to help keep his sisters from ganging up on him when he gets older. He needs a buddy. We owe him that.”
“Sounds like you have some unresolved issues that maybe you’re projecting onto your son.”
“You two were complete bitches sometimes,” he said with a direct tone. “And yes, sometimes I wish I had a brother.”
“Maybe your imaginary brother will suck your dick for you tonight because this bitch isn’t in the mood,” I said in a huff as I rolled off him
Ryan immediately climbed on top of me and, after situating himself between my legs, began to grind his hardening dick against my crotch. “Liar. You’re always in the mood.”
It was true. But again, I wasn’t going to give in without a fight. “I’m starting to think you seriously want to keep me barefoot and pregnant. Women have rights now. We can wear pants and everything.”
“So what if I do? Maybe I like the sight of your swollen belly and knowing that I did that to you. Or maybe I think you’re so beautiful and perfect that I don’t deserve you and as long as we keep having kids, you’ll never leave me.”
Something about his tone made me feel that what he said was at least partly true. I reached up a hand to stroke his face. “I love you, Ryan. And you should know by now that I’m not going anywhere…unless you tell me I can’t buy any furniture.”
He lowered his boxers and hooked the waistband below his balls. With ease, he slid his cock through the fly of the boxers of his that I was wearing and slowly pushed into me, stopping with only his crown lodged inside me. “You know the terms. If you want new furniture in this house, I’m putting a baby in you.”
I rolled my eyes even as I hooked my feet around his legs. “There are more romantic ways to say that.”
Sliding deep into me, he made a scoffing sound. “Please. You know I don’t do romance.”
“True. Fine. We can have another kid.”
As he pulled back and began to move against me with a regular rhythm, he smiled smugly. “I already had a list of furniture I was going to ask you to buy.”
“I already wanted another child,” I tossed back.
“Here they are!”
I ran to greet RJ and Rylan as they entered the house.
They’d driven home for the holidays from the college they attended together. Their three younger siblings, Roslyn, seventeen, Ruby, fifteen, and Rhys, fourteen, were still at home working their way through high school so the house was far from empty but I missed my two oldest children deeply.
The years had been good to us. Ryan was now a low level executive with the company that had moved us. He was starting to grey around the temples and was still the most handsome, sexiest man I knew. For my part, after the kids were all in school, I started taking college classes myself and now worked as an elementary school teacher. Everyone who was in our lives now didn’t suspect that Ryan and I were anything but another loving couple with five wild, crazy, great, beautiful children.
Just as I reached out to embrace my oldest children, Ryan, with his long legs and giant stride, cut me off and wrapped his arms around both of them. “I missed the shit out of both of you.”
“Dad!” Ry squealed with a mix of joy and embarrassment.
“Get off me, dude!” RJ protested though his arms remained locked around his father’s waist.
“Ryan,” I said patiently after a few moments when he hadn’t release them. “There are other people in the house who’d like to greet them.”
“They’re not important. These are my babies, my kids, and I’m gonna love on them until I’m done.”
RJ and Ry squealed and moaned again in response to him squeezing them tighter.
Fighting the smile on my face from seeing Ryan so happy, I put on my best annoyed mother-wife voice. “So the woman who carried them for nine months and spent countless hours in labor and delivery to give them life is not important?”
Ryan didn’t hesitate or even look in my direction. “Nope.”
“You big…” With the help of kaçak bahis the younger children, I pried their father off RJ and Ry then showered them with motherly affection while Ryan complained about not being shown respect.
RJ, now nineteen, was the spitting image of his father at that age. He matched his father’s height of six feet four inches and was just as handsome. The only thing that kept them from looking closer to identical was the fact that RJ had gotten my brown eyes instead of his father’s blues. Unfortunately, like his father, there were always young women his age calling, but, thankfully, he never seemed to be interested in most of them beyond friendship. Rylan also looked remarkably like her father without looking like Ryan in drag. She had inherited his steel blue eyes and, even more than RJ, had Ryan’s direct, no nonsense attitude. Surprisingly, that made her popular with the boys and she had been the one we were always catching trying to sneak out of the house. Thankfully, Ryan knew most of the tricks and caught her. Most of the time.
We had a nice but casual welcome home dinner for them and spent the evening talking and catching up on all the things that we didn’t get to share during video chats and text messages. Sitting at the table, watching the interactions between Ryan and our children, it was really nice to have everyone back home even briefly.
As the evening progressed, both Ryan and I sensed there was something troubling the two of them. Because there was no school and it was a special night, we didn’t enforce bedtimes for the younger kids and eventually took RJ and Rosie outside to sit and talk privately.
“What’s going on?” Ryan asked. “There’s something bothering you. Both of you.”
Almost immediately, tears appeared in Ry’s eyes, and when she spoke, her voice quivered. “Dad…”
As soft sobs left her, I got up and went to kneel next to her. Taking her hand in mine, I squeezed it gently. “Honey. What’s wrong? No matter what it is, we’ll get through it.”
I saw her look over at RJ and followed her eyes. Meeting my eyes, RJ shrank down in his chair like he did when he was a child and knew he was about to get in trouble. At the same time, his face held a defiant look that reminded me too much of his father.
“RJ?” Ryan caught it, too, and his voice was stern. “What did you do?”
After a long beat, RJ blurted out, “She’s pregnant.”
“Oh!” I exclaimed happily. “A baby! That’s great! But I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”
After another multi-second stretch of silence, RJ added less confrontationally, “It’s mine.”
I blinked in silence for a few moments dumbfounded by RJ’s revelation. My eyes moved to look at Ryan and I saw the same shock on his face. For all the actions and behaviors we’d kept an eye out for as they grew up, Ryan and I had never once thought that any of our children would follow in our steps and be attracted to each other, knowing that incest was the exception, not the rule.
I looked between each of the children again and saw their frightened, but hopeful expressions before returning my eyes to meet Ryan’s. After a moment, a small smile pulled at my husband’s lips. Recognizing the irony as well, I began to laugh.
“Mom!” Rosie said through her continuing tears. “We’re not kidding. This is serious. I’m pregnant. And it’s RJ’s.”
I calmed but my face and tone still held some amusement. “I heard you and I believe you.”
“Are you two in love or just fucking?” Ryan asked them directly. “No parental judgement from either of us either way. Be honest.”
Our children’s eyes met and before either of them responded I knew the answer.
“I love her.”
“I love him.”
Ryan nodded. “Okay. Fine.”
I leaned up and gave Ry a kiss on her cheek and took a moment to wipe her cheeks free of the tears.
At the same time, Ryan rose out of his seat and roughly pulled RJ to his feet. Meeting his son’s defiant but worried eyes, he said with a little anger in his voice, “I’m not going to yell, but we will have another talk later about keeping it covered. Every. Single. Time. You know better. I taught you better.”
For better or worse, Ryan had been hardest on RJ as he grew up. It was all done out of love as Ryan had not wanted his firstborn to repeat his mistakes. At the same time, it was no secret that RJ was Ryan’s favorite. The two of them had a bond that sometimes made me jealous, but I knew it was only because RJ was Ryan’s first child with me, the reason we got together when we did. Thankfully, the other kids all accepted their brother was Ryan’s favorite and teased their brother about it without feeling jealous, acknowledging that it was a part of RJ’s role as the oldest.
“I know,” RJ said sounding surprisingly remorseful. “But we just—”
“It’s okay,” Ryan cut him off with a slightly softer tone and pulled him into a hug. “I don’t need the details. Trust me, I know all about ‘we just…,’ you little shit. You were a ‘we just…,’ a very welcome one at that. And, for the record, until that point in my life, I had never been happier than when your mother told me she was pregnant that first time. That’s when I knew for sure I was going to be with her forever. I hope you’re happy about this.”