Just a reminder to everyone, this a gay romance. Don't like, hit that button on you keyboard that says backspace. We will never know.

BettyBoo: thank you for pointing out the lack of…timing. I had a feeling that it was kinda vague, but I wasn't sure. I did my best to clear it up a little here in the prologue, but when I edit, I gotta keep that in mind. As for the adoption, that was mostly Ben, when they were house shopping. One of the reasons Jonathan agreed to buy this house was because Ben said he wanted to have a family with him, give Brittany a brother or sister. I may have to reiterate that in a chapter somewhere. I know, I'm upset with Ben as well and…it's not going to get any better. As for who tells…

*spoiler*

It's more like who shows what's going on. So many things go wrong, my husband hates me, but he loves to read it. But as I said in the first story…this is a long epic tale of two people in love and what they go through to get to a happy place…if they do.

Bwahahaha…*choke* On to the story.

Side note: This whole story is mostly through Ben's point of view, with some sections for Jonathan and Sebastien. Yes, the bad boy has to have his say as well.

Prologue

"I think we should sell everything but Brittany's furniture."

Ben looked up from the suitcase he was lugging into the foyer, confused by the words. "What?" He dropped the heavy luggage, running a hand through his dark hair. It was almost time for him to get a haircut, the ends curling along the collar of his polo.

Jonathan's lips quirked, his brown eyes alight with an odd emotion, standing out against his even darker skin. "I think we should start fresh, together." He was cradling Brittany on his hip, the little girl's curly hair pulled up into two pigtails, her sepia colored skin bright with happiness.

Ben shook his head, still not getting the topic. "And why would we do this?" He walked over to where Jonathan stood, resting a hand on the trim waist. They'd just bought the house and he was eager to get started on the renovations. Even if he did like the space, the wallpaper made him nauseous. He couldn't believe that they'd been together almost a year, if he didn't count the time they'd been apart. At times it seemed longer, in a good way.

A smile and he bounced the little girl on his hip. "I think it would be symbolic, a way to make this all…more real." Jonathan looked into his eyes, the pleading in them gut wrenching. There was something else, an anxiousness that Ben found impossible to ignore.

Ben gave a quick smile, bending in to press a warm kiss to Jonathan's mouth. "Just… nothing too crazy." He would do anything if it meant Jonathan never found out what had happened the night before. It felt like a nightmare, something that he couldn't wake from.

"Since you'll be there, I think we'll do just fine." Jonathan kissed him back, just the tip of his tongue running along the seam of Ben's lips, stroking the fire that always seemed to simmer in his veins.

A groan and Ben pulled back. "As long as you narrow it down to three choices, I'm good." He went back to the suitcases at the door, trying hard to ignore the memory of Sebastien inside him, stroking and plunging deep, enticing him with the heat of the moment and the growing desire to do it again. He had to be the biggest jerk in the world.

~***~

Brittany was in her high chair, pounding on the plastic tray with her spoon. Ben watched and laughed as some of the spaghetti in her bowl splattered on her face. She stared at him startled, as if she hadn't been expecting it to happen. She giggled and went back to her antics, splattering more food on her face. He looked up when Jonathan set his plate in front of him, smiling in thanks.

"You know, I could have gotten my own food." He waited until the other man sat down before digging into the noodles.

Jonathan forked up a bite of food, humming around the utensil. "I know." He winked at him, before turning to his attention to Brittany when she tried to lunge at his plate, her bowl now empty.

"So what do your friends think about us buying this house? Do they think we're crazy?" Ben grabbed a slice of garlic bread from the basket in the middle of the table.

Jonathan's eyes flew to his, and then skidded away to land on Brittany's tray. "Umm…I'm sure they're wondering." A nervous laugh and he wiped at a smudge on Brittany's cheek, his hands trembling.

Ben leaned back in his chair, fork resting lightly on his fingertips. Something wasn't right with the tone of the other man's voice, the way he avoided looking at him. "Jonathan…is there something you want to tell me?"

Jonathan's hand shook harder and he had to put the towel in his hand down, his dark skin going sallow. "I don't think so. So when are we going to start the renovations?"

Ben gritted his teeth, sure now that the other man was avoiding his question. He had an inkling of what was going on, but he needed to be sure. "I'm sure you want to invite them over, let them see our new house before we change it."

Jonathan didn't respond, standing up with his still full plate and turned to the sink. His back rigid, Ben could see tremors shaking slight form. Now he knew for sure that what he suspected was true and the understanding stung like a knife to his gut. He stood as well, no longer hungry.

"I would think that after buying this house together and even going so far as to start adoption proceedings for another child, you would want people to know that we're together." Ben turned away, humiliated at the knowledge that this was still happening. "I can see that I was wrong."

"Ben, wait." He felt a hand at his back but he shrugged it off and headed into the foyer. Maybe Sebastien had been right. This settling down crap was for straight people. It struck him that Sebastien had never hid their relationship, often flaunting the fact that they were together when they went out. He shook his head to clear the comparison and grabbed a bag from the foot of the stairs, bounding up them two at a time. He needed a moment to think things over.

They lay on their blow up bed that night, Ben's hands behind his head as he stared at the darkened ceiling, Jonathan curled into a ball next to him. They hadn't talked since the incident in the kitchen, Jonathan hanging back until he had to come upstairs. Ben had let him, not wanting the confrontation he saw coming. He hated to think that maybe he'd made a mistake; that this thing between him and Jonathan would sputter out and die. He loved him, but how long could he handle being introduced as his 'friend'? Their one-year anniversary was next month for god's sake! Ignoring the rustling from beside him, he turned on his side, to face the ugly red paneled wall of the master bedroom.

"Ben…I'm sorry." At the warm breath on his back he sighed and turned back over .

Jonathan snuggled into his side, laying a slim hand over his chest. He let him, though he made no move to reciprocate. Everything was not okay. "For what?"

A small noise and Jonathan pushed closer, pressing his face into Ben's chilled skin, warming it with his breath and touch. "For being so…protective of what we have."

Ben snorted and closed his eyes. "Is that what you call it?"

Jonathan made an exasperated sound. "I just don't want everyone involved in us and our life. With what I do and how I make a living, a certain part of my life is very public and out there. I need something that is just for me, no one else." His voice got lower, almost inaudible as he continued. "This, what we have is it and I want to protect it. I mean, only a handful of people know that I have a daughter and I like it."

Ben felt guilty now, having again misunderstood the situation. He couldn't help his feelings though and he wished that Jonathan had said something earlier about how he felt. "Jonathan, just an acknowledgement of who I am would be nice. I mean, I'm about to be very involved in the raising of your daughter. She calls me mama or have you forgotten?" He added dryly.

"I know." Jonathan kissed his bicep softly, running a hand over a ridge on his stomach. "How about I send out announcements to everyone and let them know?"

A bark of laughter and Ben wrapped an arm around his shoulder, rolling on top of the slender form. "Smart ass. You know what I meant."

Jonathan purred, wrapping his arms around Ben's broad shoulders and tugging him in closely. "I do. From now on, I'll just tell everyone that I'm yours. Would that work for you?"

His heart picked up a beat, skin starting to sweat at the claim tumbling from Jonathan's lips. "I think that would work, as long I'm not in the room. You know what hearing those words do to me." He ground down, growling low under his breath at the feel of a hardened erection rubbing back.

Muscled thighs wrapped around his waist, and Jonathan surged against him lustfully, eyes half closed as he looked up. "I like what those words do to you as well." He whispered, nuzzling Ben's throat and biting gently along the big vein pumping just under the skin.

Ben bent in and took his mouth, sweetly at first, but the blood throbbing in his cock, and the burning need to possess Jonathan completely crashed over him, drove him to the edge. His tongue probed deeply, sweeping in and stroking the roof of Jonathan's mouth, tasting him hungrily. Jonathan's hand crept up and tangled in the soft nest of his hair, held him close.

He let his hand race over the contours of Jonathan's body, stopping at the waistband of his boxers, toying with the elastic a moment before he plunged beneath the fabric, grasping the satiny-smooth cock and toying with the tip. Ben's mouth watered at the low gasp his partner made.

Jonathan pulled away, turning his head to the side and resting in the crook of Ben's neck. "Ben…we can't. Brittany."

A groan and he rested his forehead against Jonathan's shoulder. It had completely slipped his mind that they'd put the little girl's crib in their room until they could get hers ready. He moved to roll away, but Jonathan held fast, hands locked on his back.

"Just stay here a moment, okay?" he whispered into his throat.

Ben nodded, wrapping his arms around his back and hugged him close. He hadn't been lying when he said it was going to be an effort to make this relationship work.