Hello readers! If you have read my story Home Wars, then you are already familiar with some of the characters in this story. Whenever I tried to write something new, Alexander and Brendon kept popping back into my head. I have tweaked the characters, changed some of their manerisms, just adjusted their personalities in a way I feel is better suited. It's been fun re-exploring characters I created over four years ago.

Even though this is technically a sequel to Home Wars, reading Home Wars is not necessary to understand the events in Civil War. I'm reintroducing the characters all together. I hope you enjoy the story!

As soon as the backroom door slams shut, I start yanking at her clothes. I find the small zipper to her skirt on her side and she unbuckles my belt and starts working on unbuttoning my jeans. I let her fumble with it for a moment as I run my hands up her shirt. I unclasp her frilly bra and grab her boobs as I kiss her neck. With a roll of my eyes, I drop my hands from her breasts and push her hands away from my jeans. She's never able to unbutton them, and I always get stuck doing it myself.

I push my jeans and briefs down just enough to release my hard dick. Mikala yanks her shirt over her head, and with a little shimmy of her hips, her skirt drops to the floor. She tries to make a show of taking her bra off, using one finger to push the strap off of her shoulder while smiling and biting her lip. I push the other strap off for her just to get this moving faster.

The backroom were hiding in is big, but we only have a small area that isn't watched by cameras. I pick her up by her waist and set her on the edge of the heavy oak table against the wall. It's the perfect height for us to have a quick fuck on, but I'm sure this is not what her father intended it to be used for when he built it.

"Oh, Huston," She moans in a wispy voice. I don't know why she always calls me by my last name, but I also don't bother to ask.

Thrust after thrust, she moans and groans and digs her fingernails into my back. I bite at her neck and run my thumbs in circles around her nipples. It's so easy to get her going.

I pull out right before I cum. The last thing I need is a baby mama, and I can't trust her to remember to take her birth control pills every day. The girl is so unbelievably empty-minded.

Mikala smiles at me as I hike my jeans up. She puts one hand on my bicep.

"Can't you stay for just a few minutes?" She asks.

"No."

Her face falls. She knows I never stay, so I don't know why she's always so disappointed. She hops down from the table and grabs her clothes. As she gets dressed, I turn and barge through the door to the sales floor. My phone is vibrating in my pocket. I have to get home.

"Happy birthday, Huston!" Mikala calls out just as the door shuts.

I grab a bottle of water from the three that are lined up on the counter. Mikala will put it on my tab. I'm probably the only person in this town allowed to run up a tab at a bookstore, but when I'm rushing to get home, I don't have time to be rung up. I have to admit, she does try to help me out. The store is still displaying my books on a colorful cardboard stand near the front door. Not that anyone is buying my second book, but the first one sells well there.

The front door takes you from the quiet bookstore to the busy sidewalk. This part of town would be able to fool you into thinking it's a big city. For about eight blocks there are different stores packed into the old buildings. The bookstore, a barber shop, a nail salon, adoption agency, a tiny restaurant. Parking meters line the sidewalk, and there's a parking ticket on the windshield of that stupid Honda Passport. I snatch it off the window before climbing in and speeding home. I was only parked there for about ten minutes.

My house is about fifteen minutes from the bookstore, but I make it there in nine. My family is waiting for me. The kids planned a "surprise" birthday party. It's not much of a surprise though when they use my credit card at the party store and expect me not to see it. I was livid when I saw the statement. I assumed it meant my nephew Dexter lifted the card off of me or Brendon. When I went off about it, Brendon spilled the beans about the party.

The cal-de-sac is empty other than my parents car, and my in-laws car parked on the curb. There are empty lots around our home that were never built on. Our subdivision was supposedly "up and coming" when we purchased the ranch house, but the building stopped a few years after we signed the mortgage. I pull into the garage, turn the radio off, cut the engine and close my eyes. The whole family is in there. I have to go in, force a smile, and act excited. I take a deep breath before leaving the car.

I enter the mud room, and I can hear everyone's lighthearted chatter. The door slams behind me, and they all fall quiet. I take my time kicking my shoes off. The short hallway is only about four strides long. On the right is my and Brendon's bedroom, on the left is the kitchen, and straight ahead is the living room. It's all spotless other than Cleo's play pen, and there's not a single person there. I can hear giggling to the left, and that confirms that they are all in the dining room. I sigh and head through the kitchen to the archway of the dining room. As soon as I step into view, they whole damn family yells surprise.

"Oh, wow." I force out with fake enthusiasm.

"Happy birthday Dad!" Grayson yells. He runs over and hugs me. I put my hand on his back as I look around.

Kelly and Patrick, Brendon's parents, stand with big smiles on there faces. Cleo is in Patrick's arms, her tiny hands patting his bald head. Kelly's gray hair flows past her shoulders. Her peasant skirt made with a mix of flower-printed fabric and yellow tunic is as dressed up as she will get. When Brendon and I got married, she wore a beautiful dark blue dress for the ceremony and pictures, but quickly changed as soon as we got to the reception. Patrick dresses much simpler than her. Just an old pair of jeans he's had since Bren and I started dating in high school and a red velvet shirt he probably picked up from the Goodwill. They're all smiles though. The happiness radiates off of them like the sun, meaning you can't stare right into it without it blinding you. They smell of a strange mixture of weed and essential oils. Modern day hippies.

Dexter stands off to the side with his arms crossed over his chest. He hangs back near the curio cabinet where all of Brendon's figurines are displayed. They're a mix of glass, crystal, plastic, and wood. One shelf is dedicated to my brother, Dexter's father, Julius. It has his picture from the army framed, the folded up flag from his funeral, metals he earned, the wooden urn with the United States Army emblem on the front, and his camouflage hat. Dex's greasy hair falls in his face. He's a carbon copy of his father. Black hair, strong jawline, green eyes. He's undeniably a Huston. It's hard to look at him without seeing Julius. At fifteen years old, he looks like a grown man, but he's still just a punk boy who thinks he's tougher than the world in his leather jacket and ripped jeans.

My parents, Phillip and Tina, are on the opposite side of the table as Kelly and Patrick. My mother gives me a small smile when I look at her. Her dull brown hair is pulled into a tight ponytail. She keeps one hand on my Dad's wheelchair. My Dad fought in Vietnam, lost most of his fellow servicemen in action, and came home unscathed. One little car wreck decades later, though, screwed up his spine and left him confined to that damn wheelchair.

Brendon covers his smile with his hands. His jeans are tight, but not on purpose. He's gained about fifteen pounds in the past few months. He's in a button up blue shirt that I bought him. He's so much like Kelly in the way he dresses. He's happiest in a tee shirt and lounge pants.

"Daddy Brendon made the cake." Grayson tells me as he points to the table. I force another smile. Of course Brendon made the cake. I put him through culinary school, so he should be doing the baking and cooking around here. I don't need Grayson to tell me that.

"But dinner first." Brendon tells Grayson. He smiles at me next, his hands now at his sides and his white teeth showing. "I made your favorite steak."

"Happy birthday, son." My Dad says as he rolls forward. He sticks out his hand and I reach out to shake it, but instead he yanks me down for a hug. His bony hands clench around my back.

"Thank you." I murmur back. He finally releases me, and my Mom takes over. She holds both my hands in hers.

"I can't believe my baby is thirty-five." She tells me quietly. She stares at me and her eyes get misty. I give her a quick hug and walk away to see Brendon's parents. Ever since Julius was killed in action, my parents have been emotional basket cases. I can't handle it.

"Thanks for coming." I tell Kelly and Patrick. Kelly hugs me, and I wonder how many more hugs I'm going to have to endure this afternoon. I'm not in the mood for it.

"We wouldn't miss it for the world, Alex." Kelly tells me. She knows I prefer Alexander, but she thinks it's too formal. It's not worth the energy to correct her, though. When we pulls away, I extend my hand to Patrick. He smiles as he shakes it.

"Nice to see you again." He says. "You've been making yourself scarce lately. When was the last time you came over with Brendon and the kids?"

"It's been a while. Work has kept me busy." I lie without missing a beat. Brendon takes the kids over to our parents house once a week for dinner, my parents on Tuesday and his parents on Thursday. I let them believe that it's work keeping my away and not Mikala.

"Dex, could you help me with the dishes?" Brendon asks. Dexter walks past me and I catch a "Happy birthday" mumbled under his breath. He follows Brendon to the kitchen.

We all settle down at the table and Dex and Brendon come back with the food. Thick, juicy rosemary steaks with cooked vegetables. Dexter settles in his typical seat and joins in on making a plate. Brendon stays next to me, filling my plate for me before putting Cleo in her highchair. He goes back into the kitchen and comes back out with a small plastic plate of food for her. Grayson asks for ketchup for his steak, which almost gives Brendon a heart attack, but he goes back to the kitchen to get it for him. He doesn't settle down to his seat on the opposite side of the table until everyone is taken care of. He smiles at me as he very carefully portions what he's putting on his plate. He's so self-conscious about the pudge on his belly, but refuses to go to the gym. He swears everyone is judging him when he goes, and I can't convince him otherwise. You'd think being married to a personal trainer and the gym owner, he would be more comfortable. Instead, he just does crunches on our bedroom floor before eating a bowl of ice cream.

"This is wonderful, Brendon." My Mom says with a smile. "Isn't this great, Alexander?"

"It's a little cold." I admit.

Brendon's face falls. His toothy smile is replaced with a frown. He eyes me, then looks down to his plate.

"I'm sorry, Alex. I thought you were coming home earlier." He sighs. "Do you want me to warm it up?"

I shake my head no.

"Another long day at the gym?" Dad asks me.

"Yeah. Those kids working there can't take in an order properly if their life depended on it. I had to stay late to fix the invoices for the protein drinks." I lie smoothly.

The rest of the family chats back and forth, but I stay quiet and eat my steak. Brendon smiles and laughs and brags about the kids. Grayson had good behavior this week at school and Dex brought his grades up. That's nothing to brag about, though. Grayson wasn't listening to the teachers and I had to threaten him with various punishments to get him to straighten up, and Dex was getting C's and D's in all his classes. He lost every electronic he had for almost three weeks while he brought the C's up to B's and the D's up to C's. Cleo is the only kid in this house that I'm not constantly yelling at. Brendon wants to celebrate everything they do, even when it's nothing worth celebrating at all.

I can't help but think about how things should be. Julius should be here to raise his son. I should be working on my next book. I should be happy with my marriage, my life, my kids, my job. But that's not the case. Just like everyone around this table, I'm faking my way through this. Dad is pretending that his gay son doesn't disgust him. Mom is pretending that she isn't constantly on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Brendon pretends like our marriage isn't crumbling. His parents pretend like the world is at peace and negativity has been eradicated. Dex pretends to be a hardass, and Grayson pretends to be good. Cleo is the only honest one here, and it's only a matter of time before she learns how to pretend with the rest of us.

We all finish eating and Grayson starts begging for cake. Brendon cuts it into big slices for everyone. Gray dives into his piece. With all that sugar, he's going to be up all night.

"And one for the birthday boy." Brendon says as he goes to cut one my slice. I grab his wrist to stop him.

"None for me."

"No cake?" Kelly asks.

"I'm watching my intake." I tell her.

"Surely one slice won't ruin your body, Alexander." My Mom says so quietly it's damn near a whisper.

"I don't want any cake." I repeat.

"Uncle Brendon spent a lot of time on this for you." Dex snaps at me. "You could at least fake being thankful."

"Dexter, stay out of-"

"It's fine!" Brendon says over us, cutting me off. "No cake for today. I'll save you some for later if you change your mind, honey."

He sets the knife down and returns to his seat. On his plate is a fat slice of cake. So much for his "diet".

The awkward silence doesn't have time to go away before a fowl smell fills the room. I wrinkle my nose at Cleo as she makes strained face.

"Uh oh." Kelly says. "Someone's diaper is dirty."

"I'll take care of it." I tell her and quickly push my chair back before anyone can protest the "birthday boy" from changing a dirty diaper. I pull the tray out and lift Cleo from her highchair, and the two of us hightail it out of the dining room.

"Come on, baby. Let's go get you cleaned up." I tell her as I carry her through the living room and to the nursery. It's the first door on the right at the hall leaving the living room. Poor Cleo is stuck sharing a wall with Grayson's room, and when Grayson isn't bouncing off the wall in there, Dexter is blaring his loud ass music in his room across the hall. We do our best to keep her yellow, elephant themed room calm and quiet, but it's a challenge with fifteen year old and seven year old boys.

I lay her down on the changing table, hold my breath, and change that nasty diaper in record time. Gray wasn't potty trained until he was three and a half, so I've gotten pretty good at quick diaper changes. After securing a clean diaper around her and fastening the clasps on her onesie, she makes an adorable squeal and kicks her legs. I smile and tickle the bottom of her feet.

"Who's Daddy's happy baby?" I ask her in a sing-song voice. "Who's Daddy's happy little baby?"

Her blue eyes light up as she laughs. She has Brendon's big smile. I walk my fingers up her leg and torso.

"Cleo sure is Daddy's happy little baby. You're just so sweet."

I run my hand over her blonde hair. It's so thin and light that it's almost white. I pick her up and pat her back, bouncing just enough to keep her smiling.

"I love you, Cleo Marie." I tell her. "Are you ready to go back out there?"

She lets out a funny babble. I pick up her little pink skirt and wrestle it over her wild legs before taking a deep breath and leaving her room.


"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you,"

I keep brushing my teeth as Brendon sings to me in our bathroom. He sets a blue gift bag on the counter, puts his arms around my waist from behind me and stretches to put his chin on my shoulder.

"Happy birthday, Alexander, happy birthday to you." He finishes with a kiss on my cheek. His hand runs slowly from my navel do to the elastic hem of my plaid pajama bottoms and back up again. "Did you have a good day, babe?"

I spit and grab the bottle of mouthwash. I don't respond until I rinse, spit again, and wipe my mouth with the hand towel.

"Yeah, it was good." I tell him flatly.

"I'm sorry about the cake. I should have known you wouldn't have wanted it. I just thought you would like to treat yourself." He apologizes and drops both hands to my hips. With a little tug, he spins me around and drops to his knees. He smiles up at me. "Let me make it up to you."

I smile back as he pulls my pants and underwear down. I lean my head back and close my eyes as Brendon works his magic. He gives the best blow jobs, good enough to send a shiver down my spine. He only pauses for one moment to look up at me.

"Open your gift, birthday boy." He tells me with a sensual tone before getting back to work. I reach into the bag and pull out a glass bottle of my favorite rum. I smile, rip the top of and take a swig. If nothing else, at least this day has a good ending.

Please review and let me know what you think!