AUTHOR'S NOTE: And here's the big kick-off to the wedding! Reviews make Christmas gifts! Oh, and remember:
Anyone who wants a personalized holiday e-card from any of your favorite "Moving On" or "Take Me From This Pain" characters should email me or leave a note in their review letting me know which character(s), and it shall be done! Let me know before Christmas!
"Only a few more days to go, runt!" Damon pinched Brian's cheeks. "How you feeling?"
"Like I want to slap you silly!" Brian waved his hands away. "Quit it, or I'll give in to the temptation."
They were standing in Logan International Airport and Brian was seriously considering having Damon arrested. Considering the emphasis on security these days, it would be laughingly easy. The only impediment to the plan would be Damon's partner, Trent, also known as Brian's fiancé's brother. Drat! Foiled again! Trent smiled at him as he leaned against the wall next to the arrivals gate.
"I'm glad Cody rented a house out of the city," the small blonde sighed.
"House? That thing could be considered its own city if we dug a moat around it!"
"He wanted to have enough room for everyone." He gave Damon a pointed look. "You know ... your ex, his boyfriend, all of your foster kids. Oh, and don't forget your other ex and his boyfriend."
"Are you trying to tell me something?"
"Yeah. You sure got around."
"Psht! You're just jealous!"
Trent chuckled as he watched them. If he didn't know them, he'd swear they were serious. But he did know them, so he knew better. He'd watched as Damon helped Brian finalize his wedding plans and help him calm the other "bride", Kevin. Although his talk with Jamie and Brett last year convinced Kevin to go ahead with his wedding plans, it didn't completely erase all of his pre-wedding jitters. Though helping Jamie plan Terry's "surprise" seemed to make him happy. Trent wondered what Terry was going to say after he found out. It should be an interesting two weeks.
"Look, their flight's finally coming out of Customs!" Brian pointed.
"About time! I bet Jamie was the hold up."
"Why are you still so nasty about him?"
"We have history, brat. Don't bother about it."
Trent shook his head again. If he didn't rein them in now, they'd probably be too busy trading quips to notice their guests.
"Guys!" he called out frowning. "Give it a rest until we get home!"
Damon gave him a smirk while Brian scowled, and Trent had to make a concerted effort not to laugh at him. Fortunately he was saved by an unlikely ally. Lee bounced up to Damon and jumped into his arms.
"Hey, give me some warning!" Damon complained.
"And miss that look on your face?" the teen laughed. "No!"
Claire strolled up carrying Ella, who had grown a lot since they'd seen her. Of course, she'd emailed them pictures, but the kid looked even bigger now than last month. Trent grinned at her small face as she giggled in Damon's general direction.
"Where's the rest of them?" Brian asked.
"Why do you sound resigned?" Terry asked as he poked the small blonde's shoulder from behind.
"Because now Damon has you for an ally." Brian grunted as he turned around and glared at him.
"Aw, but you had such fun with me in Brisbane last year," Terry replied. "I thought I would return the favor!"
"I have enough trouble with him!" The small blonde jerked his thumb in Damon's direction. "How about you just watch him torture me and we call it even?"
"How about not?"
Brian sighed dramatically and Jamie laughed at him. "Don't even try reasoning with him, kid. You and your meddling father are all he's talked about for a month."
"We had his best interests in mind! I bet he can't say the same."
"You're entirely too uptight," Terry said, assuming a patronizing look. "I'm only trying to loosen you up."
"See!" Brian said to Jamie.
The big man just laughed and shrugged.
"That was the longest trip I think I've ever been on," Brett announced as he and Mike sauntered up with Will in tow. He gave Damon an outraged look. "How the hell did you stand it twice?"
"The first one I slept through," he answered. "The second was rife with … distractions."
"Okay, that's enough," Trent rushed in with a smirk. "Matt and Grant are waiting in the parking lot."
"Quite good at changing the subject, isn't he?" Terry said to Jamie.
"You should talk!" Brian retorted and danced out of range when Terry made a move toward him.
"You're right, Damon, he is sneakier than he looks."
Brian gave him a superior look and took Ella from Claire so she could give her arms a break. Then he stepped closer to Trent for protection.
"We have three SUVs, so there's plenty of room."
"Ella can sit on my lap in the backseat," Lee suggested.
"Not here," Trent shook his head. "Kids up to eight years old have to ride in car seats."
Trent nodded. "Cody bought her a seat already. That's why he asked you how much she weighed and how tall she was in his last email."
"Bought?" Brett looked irritated.
"No use arguing with them, Brett, believe me," Damon sighed. "Just let them do what they want. They're going to anyway."
His tall, dark-haired ex scowled at him but said nothing, looking as resigned as Brian had sounded earlier.
"Fuck! This place is huge!" Brett muttered as they all trooped into the house.
"My sentiments exactly," Trent grimaced. "Cody wanted to rent a place big enough for us all to be together. But this place kind of makes me sick."
"It's amazing how much we agree on, isn't it?" Brett gave him a rueful smile.
"Kevin said he and Jay will be here tonight," Brian announced. "Just about everyone else is already …"
"Look who's here!" Joey yelled as he bounded into the room.
Brett groaned audibly and stepped back. Mike tried to hide a laugh as he watched his boyfriend.
"If it isn't Morgan's trick," Jamie smirked.
Joey's smile instantly vanished and he pointed at the other man. "You!"
"I should tackle you where you stand!"
"And give me more of a reason to doubt your … marriage?"
Cindy waddled up to them a minute later and gave them a tired smile. "Good to see you all made it here in one piece."
"Yeah, well in Lee's case, it's a miracle," Brett muttered.
"How are you feeling?" Claire asked as she gently touched Cindy's rounded belly.
"Oh, fine." She touched her own belly and looked up at her husband. "Trust him to give me twins."
"That's right!" Joey looked at Jamie triumphantly. "Because I have super sperm!"
"Oh, please," Terry sighed. "Anyone can make a baby. Get Brian drunk enough and I'll arrange to show you."
"You stay away from me!" the small blonde muttered.
"Yeah," Matt growled with a small grin.
"That's enough," Grant laughed. "Cody! They're here!"
"Oh, good!" The redhead walked in from the kitchen with an open notebook. "I have the room plans here."
"Room plans?" Brett "How the hell big is this place anyway?"
"Twenty-six bedrooms," Cody said distractedly.
Brett and Michael gaped at him while Jamie gasped. Terry looked impressed and Claire and Lee were still talking to Cindy so they didn't notice. Will looked as shy as ever, which was why Joey pulled him aside to show him his football jersey. He hated to see anyone look left out.
"Um, why didn't you just rent an entire hotel?" Brett asked incredulously.
"This seemed more 'homey' to me," Cody grinned without skipping a beat. "Now, you and Mike are staying in the same wing as Trent and Damon. So are Terry and Jamie."
"What about Brian?" Terry asked. "I so wanted to be near him."
The small blonde raised an eyebrow at that but kept silent.
"He and Matt are staying in the east wing, as are Kevin and Jason. I figured they could use the 'brother time' together before the Big Day."
"Aren't they not supposed to see each other before the wedding?" Mike asked.
"I never put much stock in old wives' tales before," Cody shrugged.
"What about the kids?" Brett leaned against the wall. "I want them near me." He gave Lee a pointed look. "Just in case."
"Brett, you get them all year!" Cody exclaimed. "Can't I have them for a little while?"
"What about me?" Damon demanded. "They're my foster kids!"
"You'll see them plenty," Grant replied. "But Cody wants them near us."
"Um, why?" Lee asked as he walked over to Brett. "He doesn't even like me."
"Are you kidding? I adore you … even when you're being an ass!" Cody smirked at him.
"But …" Damon and Brett said at once.
Grant gave Damon a firm look, and he bit back his retort.
"Dad, they are his kids," Trent reasoned. "And he's been looking forward to this visit for a while."
"Okay," Cody sighed and started erasing something in the book.
"Thank you," Damon mumbled.
"You and Trent will move to our wing. I'll just switch you with Ryan and Lee."
"What?" Damon shrieked. "Why?"
"Yeah, why?" Lee asked. "You could keep Will there, but me and Claire want to be with dad and Mike."
Will looked at him sadly but didn't say anything, causing Joey to glare at Lee before turning to the shy kid.
"Hey, that means you'll be near us. We can play games!" At Will's polite yet stricken look, Joey softened his voice. "I'll even teach you a few poker tricks you can use on Lee."
"Hey, I heard that!"
"You, young man," Cody looked sternly, "are staying put."
Lee was about to protest when Trent poked him. "Look at it this way. You would have been in the same area as another 'Lee'. Man, how confusing would that have been?"
"Yeah, what would happen if Ryan mistook you for his 'Lee'?" Damon smirked.
"No one would believe I'm a poof!"
"Don't be so sure," Damon laughed. "And now I get you all to myself!"
"Joy," the blonde boy muttered humorlessly.