Armand looked up to see his lover watching him; the boy's eyes were filled with questions he knew the boy wanted to ask. But Destin didn't ask the boy glanced back down returning to his breakfast. Returning to his paper, he tried to block out Destin's questioning eyes, but after another few minutes he couldn't.
"What?" Armand asked setting his paper down to pick up his coffee. In the two weeks since Destin had dealt his first blow to Amos, the boy had been quiet-ish.
"Nothing." Destin shrugged turning back to his food.
"Destin, sweets, what do you want?" Armand said softly seeing those silver green eyes come back to him.
Destin watched his lover, seeing the man wasn't going to stop until he told him. "I want to redecorate the house."
"What house?" Armand asked seeing Destin look at him strange.
"Our house this house." Destin said watching a smile cross the man's face.
"Alright." Armand said; glad to see that his lover was interested in something. And it had been a long time since the house had had a new touch to it. "I'd like that, make it more ours."
"Good." Destin grinned returning his attention to his breakfast.
"Would you like to contact Gail?" Armand asked softly seeing the boy look up at him again. He watched as Destin shrugged slightly.
"I thought about it, but I'm assuming she's busy." Destin shrugged again. "And Maggie and I have talked about a few things. The kitchen is out of date; the stove is old and doesn't work the best."
"Okay, I'll leave it up to you." Armand said as he stood. Destin tilted his head for a kiss, one that Armand dropped to his cheek. He watched the man leave the kitchen, and frowning looked over at Margaret where the woman was doing her best to ignore them.
"So are you ready to upgrade the kitchen?" Destin asked getting up to carry his dishes to the sink.
"I am, actually I have several ideas." Margaret replied grinning as she moved to get the magazines she had been looking at. They sat down, and Destin grinned as she pointed out several things. Nodding, he added a few things he liked.
"Okay I'll call Dale, and go from there." Destin said gathering up a few things. "We can go shopping once they're ready to put the appliance in."
"Alright." Margaret replied watching the boy leave the room.
"What ever possessed you to get a tattoo?" Adam asked watching his best friend.
"Because, I felt like it," Armand answered softly. He looked up at Adam, shaking his head as he watched the man. "What's the big deal Adam? You have a tattoo."
"That's different; I got that when I was in college." Adam said shaking his head.
"I got this because I wanted to." Armand said leaning back as their lunch was delivered. He shook his head, knowing that Adam was going to be asking again.
"How is he?" Adam asked seeing Armand look up at him.
"About the same," Armand shrugged as he started in on his steak. "He has good days and bad, and has been working on redecorating the house."
"Redecorating what house?" Adam asked raising an eyebrow.
"My house, the one I share with Destin and the Gates." Armand shook his head, a smile finding his face. "He started with the kitchen, you should see it, and it's all chrome and stuff."
"Ah, is he doing the entire house?" Adam asked seeing Armand nod his head yes.
"He's even doing the nursery, he's upgrading something." Armand turned back to his meal. "He's keeping busy without leaving the house. He and José are redoing some of the yard too."
"Even your father wouldn't let your mother do that." Adam said seeing Armand pause and look at him.
"If it would make the boy happy, I'd burn the house to the ground." Armand said seeing Adam laugh. "I would."
"I know," Adam said. "But I don't think that would make either of you happy."
Armand shrugged, before going back to his lunch. The meal finished in quiet, and Armand let his thoughts wander over his lover, knowing that Destin was home making their house more theirs. After getting back to the office, Armand thought about calling the boy but decided not to.
Turning back to his work, he had meetings that he needed to be ready for. And he had other things that had to be done to catch back up from all the time that he'd taken off.
Destin opened the doorway, surprised to Angelica standing there. Raising an eyebrow he watched her smile as she held up a few things. "I was shopping, and well these just screamed your name."
"Okay." Destin said moving to let her in. He followed her into the sitting room that he was currently working on. The room had been stripped, and was currently being painted.
"Well this room won't work," Angelica laughed. "Is the kitchen done?"
"Yeah, they finished it earlier this week." Destin said following her into the kitchen. He heard her whistle low, laughing as she looked around.
"This is nice," She said softly looking around the chrome and earth tone kitchen. "I love the counter tops."
"Thanks, Maggie picked those out." He replied moving to the breakfast nook. "We only replace things and upgraded and well new pain and new floor tile."
Angelica grinned, and Destin couldn't help but also grin. He liked the new kitchen, and then there was the fact that they had all the hardwood floors resurfaced, and the walls repainted bringing everything more into the now.
"I never liked the carpet in there anyways." she laughed moving to push the bag towards Destin. Raising an eyebrow he slowly opened it, a smile crossing his face. The pictures were beautiful, and Destin found his breath stopping as he looked up at her.
"These will be perfect in the nursery." Destin said seeing the smile fade slightly from her face. He and Armand hadn't talked much about the baby, not since he had gotten back. Besides it was a sore subject with them, at least Destin figured it was.
"You and Armand want a child?" Angelica asked seeing Destin watch her.
"I want to give Armand a child." Destin said softly, he looked up at her again, seeing she was watching him. Sometimes he hated looking at her, her eyes were so close to Armand. Come to find out, she and Armand had their mother's eyes.
"Are you and Armand going to adopt?" Angelica asked seeing Destin drop his eyes from her. It was then she understood what Armand had been saying, about the slight off-ness of Destin.
"I want to give him a child," He looked up. "I want to give him his child."
"Destin," Angelica shook her head. "You know that's not possible, right?"
"Of course I do," Destin shook his head. "But I would like to give him a Riesel."
"Maybe I can help with that." Angelica replied looking at the boy, she met his eyes seeing the deep desire for a child in them. "You'd be a great parent."
"Thanks." Destin said moving to get up. He made tea before going back to the table, where he watched Angelica. "What will Adam say?"
"I'm not sure, I'd have to ask." Angelica shrugged. "But Armand is his best friend, so I'm sure he'd like the idea. He's always said Armand would make a better father then our father did."
"Okay, well why don't you and Adam come for dinner?" Destin asked grinning as he got up to let Dane in. He reached out to pat the dogs head as the animal came into the kitchen.
"I'd like that." Angelica said softly smiling at the boy. Checking her watch, seeing the time she stood up and smiled at her brother-in-law. "I'll see you later tonight."
"Alright." Destin said getting up to walk the woman out. He stood on the porch watching the clouds pass in the sky while his mind went over everything that had happened. He knew his family worried about him, with everything that had happened he really couldn't blame them.
He knew he wasn't completely right in the head, but it was something he was dealing with. He had stopped going to see Dr. Lane and he had stopped speaking at the rape center. It was just another thing that he couldn't do any more. It was something he needed to distance himself from. Turning he went back into the house, his eyes scanning the area of his home that was still under construction.
He was trying to find a place for himself, trying to bring a normalcy back into his life. And he was making the house his, he knew that Armand was letting him only because the man was hoping for normalcy too. But as the days blended into weeks Destin felt more detached from everything.
"Destin?" Destin jumped at Margaret's voice, he turned seeing the woman was watching him.
"I'm sorry I didn't hear you come in," Destin grinned, "did you need help carrying things in?"
"No I'm done." Margaret said smiling as she hugged the boy.
"Adam and Angelica are coming for dinner tonight, that's okay right?" Destin asked seeing the woman nod. Turning he left Margaret to her preparations knowing he would just get in the way. Gathering his pictures he headed up to the nursery where he planned to hang them.
Armand slipped into his bedroom pausing to watch Destin. The boy was beautiful standing framed in the window the moonlight illuminating his pale skin. Smiling he crossed the room slowly wrapping his arms around the boy's waist feeling Destin's stiffen slightly before the boy relaxed.
"Hello beautiful." Armand said softly closing his eyes to inhale Destin's scent.
"You're home earlier then I thought you'd be." Destin said reaching down to wrap his hands around Armand's.
"Meetings got over earlier then I thought they would," Armand said grinning into Destin's hair. "And I couldn't wait to get home."
"Angie and Adam are coming for dinner." Destin said pulling away slightly to turn to his husband. He looked up at Armand, seeing the man was smiling.
"I know. Angie and Adam were locked in his office when I left." Armand said leaning to kiss the boy's lips. Pulling back, Armand took a step back to watch the boy frown. "Something wrong?"
"Hum? No, nothing at all." Destin said moving to leave the room. Armand grinned following after the boy as Destin headed down towards the kitchen. He was surprised to see Angie and Adam already there, they were talking with Margaret.
Destin helped Margaret serve the food in the new dinning room, loving how the room felt now that the dark colors were gone. They sat down and the meal started out quietly, but soon they were talking about the deal that Armand and Adam were working on.
"This sounds small." Angelica replied glancing at her brother.
"It is a string of small B&B's." Armand replied. "Something that, couples can get away to during the weekend or what knots."
"It'll be a friendly homey atmosphere." Adam grinned looking at Armand before he laughed slightly. "And gay friendly."
"That should go over big." Margaret grinned, her eyes going to Destin, seeing the boy was staring at his chicken. "Destin?"
"Yeah great." Destin said looking up. He met Angelica's eyes before he turned his attention to Adam, seeing the man wouldn't meet his eyes. When he looked back at Angelica he saw the woman wouldn't met his eyes either and knew that whatever Angelica had been offering wasn't going to happen.
"What's going on?" Armand asked looking around the table.
"Nothing." Destin muttered pushing his food around on table.
"Damn it, someone is going to tell me what the hell is going on." Armand hissed his eyes landing on his sister. He could see she didn't want to tell him.
"I offered to be a surrogate, for you and Destin." Angelica said softly.
"Surrogate for what?" Armand asked not sure he really wanted to know. He turned to look at Destin, seeing the boy was staring hard at his plate.
"Destin wants a child," Angelica said looking over at Adam, and Armand could see the pleading in his sister's eyes.
"It's okay," Destin said bringing all eyes to him. "It was a nice thought, but Adam is uncomfortable with the idea, so it's okay."
"Destin…" Angelica started but trailed off when Destin stood and picked up his plate. Destin left the room, and Armand turned back to the others.
"You offered Destin to carry a child for us?" Armand wanted to know. He was angry, because he wasn't sure the boy was all that stable, and really didn't need any more disappointment in his life. "What are you trying to do? Send the boy back to the asylum?"
"Armand." Adam started seeing the man glare at him. "I'm sorry I really am."
"This isn't your fault Adam." Armand said leaving the room. He went in search of his lover, finding Destin was just in the kitchen. "Baby?"
"I'm fine." Destin said wiping a tear from his face.
"No you're not." Armand said moving towards the boy, he saw Destin look up at him. "You are far from fine; you don't even see your friends anymore."
"I do," Destin started, "when I can I see them."
"Destin." Armand started again wrapping his arms around the boy. He pulled his lover close, holding him tightly as he felt Destin shaking slightly. After several minutes he pulled away, looking up at the man he loved.
"I'm just going to get some air." Destin said seeing the man nod. "I'll be okay; I'm just going to go sit on the swing."
"Alright." Armand said watching his lover slip outside.
Adam stepped outside, his eyes on the lone pale figure. Walking over he sat down beside the boy, watching as Destin glance at him. "I'm really sorry."
"You have nothing to be sorry for, Adam." Destin said turning his attention back to the yard. "I'm not completely blind you know."
"Yes I know." Adam said turning to watch the boy. Destin looked even younger in the moonlight and vulnerable and it tore at his heart. "It's just she's my wife."
"I understand Adam." Destin said not looking at him.
Adam continued to watch him, not sure that the boy really did understand. He had really thought he had figured the boy out in those first few meetings, but now saw the man that had captured Armand was a complicated being. He also feared for the boy's state of mind. He wondered how much one person could take before they completely snapped.
"Excuse me." Destin said moving to get up. He nodded to Adam before he disappeared back into the house. Making his way to the library, he slipped inside to grab a book and settled down into his favorite chair. Opening his book he pushed everything out of his mind.
Armand found the boy later, Destin was asleep in the chair. The book he had been reading was on the floor, and Dane was sleeping on the floor in front of the boy. Shooing the dog he scooped his lover up turning to take Destin up to bed. He knew that Dane followed as he went up the stairs and into the bedroom. Setting Destin down, he started to pull the boy's clothing off.
Armand climbed into the bed beside his lover, drawing Destin into his arms. He watched as Dane jumped onto the bed seeing the animal settled down close to Destin. Closing his eyes, Armand hoped that he could find sleep that night since it seemed that shortly after Destin would fall asleep the boy would start having nightmares.
Shifting Armand opened his eyes and watched his lover; Destin looked so young in sleep. Reaching up he brushed hair from Destin's face seeing glazed sleepy eyes open slightly before they closed again. Grinning Armand settled down to sleep hoping that he would be able to hold Destin's demons at bay that night.
"Destin, why do you keep looking around?" Vivian asked seeing the boy look at her.
"No reason." Destin shrugged turning his attention back to the food at the table. He had met with Vivian, Brian and Nancy for lunch.
"You still seem out of it." Brian observed seeing the boy nod.
"I'm still tried, and well restless I guess." Destin sighed before glancing around again. It had actually taken less time to redo the house then he thought. Only two months, since they had several crews working on it. But still, now that it was done, he wasn't sure what he wanted to do.
"Do you think about going back to work?" Nancy asked.
Destin shrugged before sitting back with a sigh. "I don't think so; I really don't want to do landscaping right now."
"But I thought that was what you loved to do?" Vivian asked frowning as she glanced at Nancy and Brian.
"I did, well I do really, I don't know. I just can't seem to bring myself to go to work, and when I do I tend to go home after an hour or so." Destin replied shrugging again. "I just feel out of touch with everything."
"What does Armand say?" Vivian asked softly watching Destin shrug again.
"What can he say? Other then hang in there, it's bound to get better?" Destin replied. "I feel like I'm suffocating here, in this town."
"Maybe you need a vacation?" Nancy offered seeing a small smile cross the boy's face.
"Maybe," Destin said as he paid the bill, he had told them it would be his treat since he hadn't been around and had been putting them off. Looking up he saw his friends were still watching him, and smiled. "I'm really okay, but I need to get going."
"Okay bye." They said as he stood. With a small wave and a smile, Destin headed towards Michael and the car. He told Michael to take him back to the house as he slide into the car. The short trip back was made in silence and Destin knew that Michael kept silent because Destin was thinking about everything.
"You alright?" Michael asked as they pulled up in front of the mansion.
"As alright as I can be." Destin said getting out of the car as soon as Michael pulled it to a stop. Heading into the house, he entered the kitchen seeing Margaret was making cookies and had to smile. "Hey."
"Hey, how was lunch?" She asked as she continued to drop balls of dough to the cookie sheet.
"It was okay, why so many cookies?" Destin asked seeing down across from her.
"I'm sending some to my grandkids." Margaret said moving to put the cookie sheet into the oven. "You want some tea kiddo?"
"Sure." Destin replied looking though the mail that was sitting on the counter. Frowning he saw two more letters from Edward. Getting up he grabbed a pen, before walking back to write 'return to sender' on the envelopes. He didn't know why the man continued to send him letters, when they just got sent back.
"More things from Edward?" Margaret asked setting the tea down in front of him.
"Yep, and those are going back to, I don't care what he has to say." Destin said sipping at his tea. He looked at the woman who had become somewhat like a mother to him. "Can I ask you something?"
"Of course, kiddo." Margaret replied.
"You ever get restless? Like life is closing in on you and you don't know what to do?" Destin asked looking up at her. He could see the frown and knew that she was wondering what exactly he was asking.
"Sometimes, I guess." She answered softly. "Is that how you feel?"
"I feel like this town is suffocating me, Maggie, and it scares me." Destin shrugged his shoulders. "I just don't know what to do."
"Have you talked to Armand?" Margaret asked already knowing that they boy hadn't.
"And what am I suppose to tell him?" Destin shook his head. "No I've just been thinking a lot."
"I don't know what to tell you." Margaret said moving to answer the phone as it started to ring. Destin didn't pay much attention to what the woman was saying until he caught Edward's name. "He's at the gate."
"Tell Charles to tell him to go away." Destin said watching Margaret. He could tell by the look on the woman's face, that that wasn't working. With a low muttered curse he got up. "I'll be there in a second, tell Charles."
Destin headed out of the house and down the driveway. He grinned as he watched Dane running slightly ahead of him, only to pause and trot back to him. It didn't take him very long to walk to the end of the driveway where he saw Edward was standing with his arms crossed over his chest.
"I thought I told you to stay out of my life." Destin said stopping just short of the gate.
"I'm still your father." Edward hissed glaring at the boy.
"Well I don't really give a shit Edward; I'm very close to calling the police." Destin said sighing as he felt Dane lean against his legs.
"Your uncle Amos is dead." Edward said watching for any type of reaction from the boy.
"And I would care?" Destin asked knowing something had happened. The people watching Amos has reported that the man had disappeared.
"He took his own life, Destin, don't you care?" Edward asked.
"Not really, he took things from me." Destin shrugged watching the man.
"Denise had a boy; I'd like you to meet your brother." Edward said motioning to the woman in the car.
"Not my brother, don't care to know your kid." Destin said seeing Edward turn back to him.
"Damn it Destin, enough of this." Edward hissed moving close to the gate. Destin shook his head before taking a few steps closer to the gate.
"You're right, I've had enough. Stop calling me and sending me things, stop showing up here and damn it, stop trying to be anything to me. You lost that right when you betrayed me, and I don't want to know you. I'm twenty years old; I'm big enough to take care of myself." Destin hissed glaring at the man. "The next time you come around I'll call the police and make sure you spend several years in jail, so think of that the next time you think you need to darken my doorstep."
"Destin!" Edward started but Destin has already turned to head back to the house. The boy paused turning to look back at him.
"Get off my property Edward, or so help me god I'll make your fate the same as Amos'." Destin hissed before turning and headed back towards the house. He ignore the yells from Edward as he walked, a smile found his face as he once again watched Dane.
Armand was glad to be home, after hearing from both Charles and Margaret that Edward had stopped by and Destin had talked to the man. Hurrying into the house he went to the kitchen only to find the room empty. Heading back the way he came, he checked the living room only to find that room empty also. He finally found his lover in the library seeing Destin was staring into space.
"Destin?" Armand asked seeing the boy look at him.
"I've come to a decision, Armand." Destin said not turning his attention from whatever he was staring at. Armand felt fear in his stomach, but swallowed it back down.
"And that would be?" Armand asked coming further into the room.
"I'm leaving." Destin said turning to face his suddenly very pale lover. He could see Armand was trying to form words and with a frown he thought about what he just said. "Not that kind of leaving Armand, I was hoping you'd come with."
"Excuse me?" Armand managed to get out as his heart started to pound.
"I want to travel; I want to see the world." Destin replied moving towards the man.
"I see." Armand said his eyes meeting Destin; he could see the determination in them.
"I'm going, whether you can or not, I can't idle here anymore." Destin shrugged slightly. "I'd like you to come, or at least meet me later."
"Destin." Armand started.
"I love you, you are my whole reason for living Armand, and this is my home. But I'm looking for something, and it's not here in this house and it's not in this town." Destin said feeling tears come to his eyes. "I've tried, I've tried so hard to go back to work, hell I've even tried to work at the Blackbar Group, and I can't. I can't seem to make anything right."
"So you want to travel around the world?" Armand asked seeing Destin nod. "And you are going to do this with or without me?"
"This is something I need to do." Destin said moving closer to his lover. "Please Armand, all I want to do is heal and find that part I'm missing, and I want you to be there with me."
"Okay." Armand said seeing a brilliant smile cross Destin's face. While he didn't agree with the boy, he figured it couldn't hurt and maybe it would help Destin get things back on track. "When did you wan to leave?"
"As soon, as we can." Destin said moving away from Armand.
"I'll have to do a few things at work, before I can leave." Armand stated seeing the boy nod. "I heard Edward was here today."
"Yes he stopped to tell me Amos was dead, and to introduce me to his son." Destin said glancing up before looking back at the papers he was looking at. "I told him to leave before I called the police."
"And he left?" Armand asked moving closer to see what Destin was looking at.
"Yes, at least he must have unless he was still at the gate?" Destin asked looking at him. Armand shook his head no, and leaning he kissed his husband on the cheek before leaving the room. He went in search of Margaret and Gates, finding them both in the kitchen.
"Welcome home Armand." Margaret said smiling at him.
"Hey," Armand started, "how about a vacation?"
"What?" Margaret asked him seeing the man looked slightly flustered.
"I'm going to give you two some time off paid." Armand said seeing them both look at him.
"How long?" Gates inquired softly seeing his employer shrug.
"Don't know, all I know is that Destin wants to travel." Armand said softly turning when Destin came into the kitchen. The boy paused to look around at them, a smile finding his face.
"Are you talking about me?" Destin asked laughing at the look that came to their faces.
"Dinners ready." Margaret said moving to set the food on the table. It had become habit that the four of them to eat together.
"Margaret can you call the marina and ask them to get the yacht ready for an extended trip?" Armand asked seeing the woman nod.
"If no one is going to be here, we should cover the furniture and have something turned off." Margaret said seeing Armand nod.
"I'll take care of that." Armand said glancing at Destin, seeing the boy was picking at his food again. "Destin is there anything you can think of?"
"I'll have to get Dane into the vet, to get current papers." Destin said looking up.
"Alright." Armand said turning back to his food. The rest of dinner was eaten in silence, Destin was thinking of what he wanted to pack. After dinner was done, Destin helped Margaret with the dishes seeing the woman seemed troubled.
"What are you going to do with your time off?" Destin asked the woman seeing her look at him.
"I think I'll go visit my kids, Stu has mentioned it a few times." She said softly handing him a plate to put into the dishwasher.
"That will be nice huh?" Destin asked seeing her smile slightly as she nodded. "You know it won't be forever."
"I know." Margaret said smiling at him. "It's just we just got you back, and now you're leaving again."
"I'll write, and don't worry; Armand and I'll be a phone call away." Destin said moving to hug her. Margaret wrapped the boy into her arms; it had been too long since she was allowed to hug him. Destin had moved to close himself off from most.
Destin grinned as he made his way through the huge bathroom off of his and Armand's bedroom. His remodeling of the bathroom had been to make it earthier. Or better yet, add as many plants and other natural things as he could. Now it looked like a jungle. He smiled, slipping his robe off as he watched Armand where the man was soaking in the in-ground tub.
Slipping into the water, he saw Armand look at him as smile crossing the man's face. "I see you like this."
"I do." Armand replied reaching out to pull the boy closer. "I really like this."
"It's relaxing." Destin saw yawning slightly as he snuggled into his lover's arms.
"What's going to happen to all your plants when we're gone?" Armand asked knowing that Destin was attached to each and every one of the plants. And the boy had spent a lot of time caring for his plants and flowers.
"Corey said he would come and look after them." Destin replied shifting to lay his head against the man's shoulder.
"Good." Armand said settling back into the hot water. While he had at first frowned at the in-ground soaking tub, but found now it was a good idea. And one he really liked after a hard day at the office. Plus it gave him the chance to hold Destin in hot steamy water.
Well except when his lover feel asleep on him, which it looked like Destin had. Shaking his head, he shifted his lover to see Destin's head loll on his shoulder. He wasn't exactly sure how he was going to get Destin out of the tub without dunking the boy. Shaking his head, he shifted Destin again.
"Destin? Come on baby, you have to wake back up." Armand said reaching up to turn to boy's face towards him.
"Tired…" Destin said trying to snuggle deeper into Armand's side.
"Well wake up or you're gonna get dunked." Armand said laughing when Destin opened sleepy eyes and frowned at him.
"Not fair." Destin pouted.
"Sorry love, but there's no way I could get out without dunking you." Armand said helping the boy up. He watched as Destin wrapped a large fluffy towel around himself. Wrapping a towel around himself he followed the boy from the bathroom seeing Destin barely dried off before climbing into bed.
Armand dried off, shaking his head before he climbed into bed. He pulled Destin close, feeling the boy yawn as Destin cuddled close. It seemed they spent a lot more of their time cuddling, and Armand was happy with that. At least at the moment he was. Although he had to admit that he missed the sex.
But it was okay, because he got to hold the boy and found that little by little the guilt was going away. Although when he got aroused he still felt guilt because Destin always wanted to help him. Armand glanced at his sleeping lover, finding that he spent a lot of his time watching the boy sleep. He wasn't sure what he had done to deserve the boy, but thanked whoever was out there watching out for them.