1: A fresh start
"Mommy, is this the new house?" Octavia Tucker, currently the world's most eager toddler, inquired. Her nearly black eyes shined with curiosity and excitement as she tugged at the straps of her car seat, wanting to free herself.
"Yes, baby, this is the new house. Now, if you would just calm down, Mommy will let you out and you can go look around for yourself," Jayce Tucker informed the child. Her own almost-onyx eyes twinkled with delight, happy to see her daughter so pleased.
Jayce climbed out of the driver's seat of the small SUV. The sunlight hit her ebony hair in a way that showed off the slight red taint to her hair, which Octavia noticed and marveled over while her mother got her out of the car seat. As soon as she was unbuckled though, Octavia forgot all about her mommy's hair and leaped out of the car to explore the vast new world that was their yard.
"Make sure you stay out of moving men's way and don't wander out of sight," Jayce called the child, who knew those things already. Jayce just felt it necessary to remind the hyper little girl.
For a moment, Jayce had to take in the source of her daughter's excitement-their new home. It was a two-story home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, office space, a large kitchen, sunken living room, huge basement, and a giant backyard. She never thought that she would ever be able to live some place like their new home. It was like a dream come true. But, then again, she thought as she turned her focus to the other passenger, much of her life lately seemed like a dream come true.
"Yes, Gus-Gus, even your existence is like a dream, baby-boy," Jayce cooed to her son as she unstrapped the baby from his car seat.
The little baby boy cheered, grinning wildly as his mother took him into her arms. Gently, she caressed his chubby sienna cheek, noting the contrast in their coloring. She was usually lighter than he was, but being out in the summer sun was changing that. He turned his head to her hand, cooing and taking her attention back to him.
"Do you see our beautiful house, Gus-Gus? And then we have this huge yard, front and back. You'll love it when you're a little bit older. Once you can really walk and everything," Jayce remarked with a smile.
The baby did not say anything, not that Jayce expected him to say anything. She grabbed his bag from out of the car and was about to go to the house, but she was held up momentarily. She noticed a man standing on the porch of the house next door. He smiled and waved at her. She smiled and waved back, which he seemed to take as a sign that it was safe to come over.
As he marched over, Jayce took a good look at him. He had somewhat of a surfer look to him. He had shaggy blond hair with some curls on the end. His face was smooth and he continued sporting a big smile. A plain white t-shirt showed that his arms were as pale as his face.
"Howdy, neighbor, I'm Trevor Bradshaw," he introduced him, putting out his hand.
"Hi, I'm Jayce Tucker," she replied, shifting her son a bit, so she could shake her neighbor's hand.
"Glad to see a family moving in next door. My son?" He paused a moment to point back over to his house where a tiny blond head was poking out the door. "?Travis has been dying for some kids his age around. The couple that lived here before were childless," he informed her.
"Well, this one won't be playing anytime soon. But, that one," she pointed over to Octavia, who was playing around in a patch of flowers around the house. "She doesn't stop playing."
"That's good. How old is she?"
"Four going on both forty and one at the same time," Jayce quipped.
Trevor chuckled. "Well, Travis is five and I think he's going to stay that way for the next twenty years. He's waiting for me to signal him that it's safe."
It was Jayce's turn to laugh. "Go ahead and signal him then. We don't bite. Although our little princess might talk his ear off if the right topic comes up."
Trevor laughed more and then turned his attention to his son. He waved to the child, who ducked back into the house. For a moment, Jayce thought that he was running away, but found out that was not the case. He showed up a few seconds later, tugging a brunette woman with him.
Jayce giggled at the sight, thinking it was very cute. Quickly, she turned away and called Octavia over to meet their neighbors. The little girl rushed over, grinning all the way. She stood next to Jayce as Travis came to stand next to Trevor.
"Octavia, baby, these are our neighbors," Jayce reported to the little girl.
"Hi, I'm Octie!" the little girl announced, holding her hand out for Travis to shake.
"Hi?" the little blond said. His voice was tiny, mostly likely due to shyness, Jayce figured.
"I like your hair cuz it's curly," Octavia said, reaching out and running her fingers right through the boy's hair. An instant blush covered his cheeks.
"Your hair's pretty too?" Travis commented, voice still quite low. He did not go so far to touch Octavia's ebony tresses, which were done in curls too. Her curls were not natural like his, though.
Jayce smiled again and turned her attention to the woman with Travis. "Hi, I'm Jayce Tucker and this little guy is Augustus Tucker," she introduced herself again and the baby in her arms.
"Helena Bradshaw," the woman stated in strong voice. She had sharp green eyes with a stern, but pretty heart-shaped face.
Jayce thought it was odd that Helena was dressed as if she were going somewhere while Trevor was dressed as if he planned to lounge around the house. Travis was also dressed as if he was just going to spend the day around the house. The father and son were in t-shirts, sweat pants, and flip-flops. Helena was dressed in a knee-length black skirt and a cream-colored blouse with matching shoes.
"I was just telling Jayce how nice it is that a family moved next door, so Travis can have someone to play with," Trevor commented.
"I like playing!" Octavia supplied with a grin, pointing to herself.
"Playing's fun?" Travis agreed, sounding a little hesitant.
"Perhaps we can set up a play-date between you two after the neighbors get settled," Helena told Travis.
Jayce was about to say that Travis could play with Octavia whenever he wanted, but decided against that. She did not want to impose her ways on their new neighbors. She just did not think that playing should be done by appointment.
"So, is it just the you three?" Helena asked curiously, eyes straying to Jayce's left ring finger. There was a gold band with a huge diamond there, letting her know that it was not just the three of them.
"No, Gus is around here somewhere," Jayce answered. She was about to elaborate on who Gus was, but did not need to. Gus came out of the house to see what was going on.
"Hey, baby, wait until you see the inside of your dream house," Gus called and then she noticed her family with another family. She figured those were probably the neighbors, so she marched over to the scene to find out what was going on.
"Oh, here you are, Gus. We've been meeting our new neighbors, the Bradshaws," Jayce commented as she felt Gus' arm find its usual place around her waist.
Gus let loose a wide grin as she turned her attention to the Bradshaw family. "Hello there. I'm Augusta Tucker, but everyone calls me Gus," she introduced herself, putting her hand out.
Trevor took her hand and shook it without a problem while introducing himself. Travis copied his father while Helena did not even bother shaking Gus' hand. Instead, she regarded the new neighbors through squinting eyes and then looked them up and down. She then excused herself, claiming to have work to do in the house.
"Sorry about that," Trevor apologized for his wife.
"No problem. At least you're still here," Jayce replied, doing her best to maintain her friendly smile.
"So, Gus," Trevor said, turning his attention to the taller woman. "That's amazing that you have both your kids named after you. I've only got the one clone and Helena refused to let him carry my name," the blond stated, putting his hand on Travis' shoulder.
Gus chuckled. "Wow, not many people pick up on the fact that little Octie is named after me," she said, wrapping the child in a light embrace. "But, Little Caesar here is quite easy for most to pick up on," she added, reaching out to caress the baby's head. She could not help smiling at her son.
"Little Caesar? That's quite the nickname," Trevor said, laughing.
"In a house full of women, he's pretty much the emperor. But then again, when his sister gets in a mood, she can be a little empress herself. So, I guess it works out that they both have royal names," Gus replied.
"Look, I don't want to keep you guys since I can see you got a lot going on," he said, motioning to the moving men going in and out of the house. "How about you come over to my house for dinner tonight?" he offered.
"Sounds great, but are you sure Helena is going to feel comfortable with that?" Jayce inquired.
Trevor shrugged. "You got me there."
"How about your come over to our house?" Gus proposed. "The place should resemble a house by tonight, but even if it doesn't, we could have a nice little picnic in the living room. We'll put a little movie on for the kiddies to keep them calm."
"If it's okay with you," Trevor answered, glancing at Jayce.
"It's no problem," Jayce assured him. She smiled, happy that he thought to check with both of them.
"If you handle roughing it for the night, come by at about seven, okay?" Gus informed him.
"Sounds good. Come on, Travis, we should get back in and make sure your mom is okay," Trevor said.
Travis nodded. "'Kay, Dad. Um?bye?" he said to Octavia, waving a bit.
"Bye! See ya later!" the little girl practically cheered. She waved until the two blonds were back in their home. She then turned her attention to her parents as they started toward their new home. "He was nice, Mommy!" she called, grinning as they went into the house.
"Yes, they both were," Jayce agreed.
Jayce then forgot to breathe as they entered the house. She doubted that she had ever seen a grander sight, except maybe her childhood home. But, there was a key difference between the two. Here, she would be a part of a loving family, not like when she was a child where her mother hated her, her father tolerated her, and her big brother was the only comfort at the time. And because she could feel love in this house, it made it infinitely more impressive than her childhood home.
"Gus?" Jayce whispered once she found her voice.
"I know, lovely. Hold it in until later when we don't have a million moving men coming in and out of the place," Gus remarked with a smile.
"I'll try?" Jayce replied. She had seen the house before, but there was something about the fact that they were moving in that touched her. She was moving in with her family into the home that would be their home for the rest of their lives. It was almost overwhelming.
"Hey, princess, why don't we go up to your bed room and arrange things how you want it?" Gus suggested, speaking to Octavia.
"YES!" the child cried with glee, jumping up and down. She even clapped a couple of times.
Jayce smiled as she watched Gus and Octavia disappear upstairs. She knew that Gus would not be up there for long because the taller woman would have to boss around the moving men. It was just how Gus was.
"Well, Gus-Gus, let's go look around the house and see if it is shaping up to be a house," Jayce grinned, holding the baby firmly to her. She left his baby bag sitting by the front door.
Touring the house, Jayce was amazed once again and Augustus seemed to agree with her, cooing in awe whenever they entered a new room. Most of their things were packed away in boxes, but some things were out. The dining room had its dark, mahogany table sitting pretty and waiting for the chairs to join it. The television was already hanging on the living room wall; Gus had gone out and brought a giant TV and made sure it was set up to have something to keep Octavia occupied while they really fixed up her room. Bookshelves and a desk were already in the room that was going to be their home office. The beds were also in the bedrooms, having been delivered yesterday, along with mattresses.
"Do you see this beautiful house? Gus bought this for us. She bought this so we could have a nice big family house. This is the house you're going to grow up in," Jayce informed the baby while making her way into the kitchen. "This is the house I'm going to grow old in with your mother. This is the house that after you meet that special someone, you'll bring your kids to, so they can visit with their grandmothers. Isn't that cool?"
Augustus seemed to agree by smiling and clapping. Jayce looked around the kitchen; it was so much larger than the one at their old house. Well, more like Gus' old house, which was how Jayce always looked at it. One of the many reasons Gus wanted to get a new home was because she knew that Jayce would never look at her ranch house as their
home. Jayce always saw that as Gus' house because Gus had purchased the house for herself before she and Jayce were together. Gus bought that house, but they
bought this house together for their
"Hey, be careful with that stuff!" Gus' bark could be heard through out the whole house. Apparently, she was back on the job of commanding the moving men.
"Well, Gus-Gus, how about we go upstairs and see how your sister's doing with her room?" Jayce moved to go see how the little girl was doing on her own while Gus stepped outside to rip into some guys manhandling their things.
They climbed the stairs and stepped over to the right. Octavia had chosen the room closest to the master bedroom, which did not surprise her parents. She had a fierce independent streak, but at the same time could not stand it when her parents were not close by.
"Baby, how's going in here?" Jayce called to Octavia as she entered the room.
"Mommy, it's so big! Look how big it is!" the child called, hopping up and down in the room.
"Yes, it is," the mother replied. The room could probably fit two of Octavia's old room in it. "How about I put Gus-Gus down in his chair for his nap and then I help you unpack more boxes?" she said. The room was full of boxes. It looked like Octavia was just rummaging through the few that were already opened and pulling out her things.
Jayce had to enlist Gus to get the baby's "chair." It was actually a portal infant swing, but Octavia called it his chair, so the parents referred to it as the same. Gus brought the swing up while Jayce fed Augustus. By the time Gus had the swing set-up (with the "help" of their daughter), Augustus was clearly ready for his nap. After Jayce carefully placed him down on the soft, tan cushion, Octavia covered him with his favorite cars blanket. And Gus started the swing, putting the fifteen-minute timer on. He was asleep within seconds.
"Papa, guess what?" Octavia said, eagerly tugging on Gus' shirt.
"What?" Gus answered with a giant smile.
"Mommy's gonna helps me!" the child reported, jumping up and down again.
"Help with what?"
"The boxes?" Gus scratched her eyebrow with her pinkie. She could only guess what boxes their daughter was talking about considering the fact that the house was full of boxes.
Gus turned her attention to her wife. "Are you helping her unpack?" she guessed.
"I am. I figure at least one of us should be able to sleep comfortably in a complete room tonight. Besides, you know if we don't start now, she won't let us sleep because she'll bug us the whole night about her room," Jayce pointed out.
Gus nodded. "Right about that." She turned her attention to Octavia. "Okay, little princess, make sure you're quiet so you don't wake up Caesar here and try not to climb into every box, okay?"
Octavia nodded with great enthusiasm. Gus left them alone to go deal with the moving men yet again. By the time she came back, Octavia's room did resemble a room. Her hoard of dolls had been liberated and put in a neat and orderly stack in the corner. Her books were lined up on her small, white bookshelf, which was against the wall. By the window sat her tiny, round white table and two chairs for her little tea parties; Jayce usually attended those. A toy chest was against the wall by the nightstand, which had been moved in earlier.
Octavia herself was knocked out on her "princess" bed as she called. She was bit hard to find on the full-sized canopy bed since it was covered in pillows and blankets that she did not need, but were probably packed away in a box she opened. She was curled up in a little ball wearing a t-shirt that belonged to Jayce.
"Well, Jay, this is one room down," Gus said with a smile, speaking to her wife, who was hanging clothes in their daughter's closet. "And two kids. You, woman, have the magic touch," she added with a chuckle. Augustus was still asleep in his swing, which was now sitting on Octavia's tea party table.
"So you always say," Jayce purred, giving her spouse a seductive wink.
Gus shook a reprimanding finger at her wife. "None of that, missy. No seducing me when we have so much to do. We've still got a couple of hours to go before the neighbors show up for dinner. Do you want me to call for take-out or do you think you can work your magic in our new kitchen?"
"I'd really love to cook our first night here. I'd like to look back on this day and just remember we had a nice, home-cooked meal our first day in our beautiful new home," Jayce answered with an enchanted look on her face.
Gus could not help smiling because of her wife's expression. "I like the sound of that! I found the box with the dishes we kept, so we can serve off of those until we go out for new stuff. You know our friends are going to be calling us for the rest of the month bitching about how we didn't let them buy anything for the new house too."
"Sorry, but I told them, I want this to be our house with everything important coming from us. As soon as we're done, they can spend to their little hearts' content. Or they can hold onto their money and save it for Little Caesar's first birthday party," Jayce replied and then she turned to her spouse with delight in her eyes. "Imagine that, baby! We've got this huge backyard for the party and everything!" The old house did have a moderate sized backyard, but it was nothing like the new house's yard where they could fit a whole host of people.
Gus chuckled. "I think we might need to use the basement for the party. The curse of having winter babies," she pointed out.
"I still like it, though!" Jayce bounced on her heels. Sometimes, it was easy to think that Octavia's behavior was inherited.
"I can see where our little princess gets her energy from. Calm down, Jay. Let's focus on getting settled in here. As soon as we're settled, we'll have a nice big barbeque in the backyard and if they're nice, we'll let our friends come."
Gus smiled and grabbed the shorter woman into a hug, which was immediately returned. She gave Jayce a chaste kiss on the lips. Jayce sighed contently and snuggled into the businesswoman.
"Okay, okay. Let's worry about just dinner for tonight. I need to go to the store!" Jayce realized.
"That you do because we don't even have an ice cube in the fridge," Gus agreed with a laugh.
"Okay, I'll go. If the baby gets hungry, he has bottles in the fridge. I'll be back as quickly as I can," Jayce said, practically running out of the door.
Gus laughed again and decided to get the house looking somewhat presentable for then their neighbors arrived while their children were asleep. When Octavia woke up from her nap, she helped Gus as best she could. When Augustus woke up, he was just brought downstairs, but left in his swing. Gus moved the swing from the reclined position to the sitting position because the baby loved seeing what was going on. He watched his mother and sister bustled around the house.
Of course, Octavia abandoned Gus as soon as her mommy showed up. Octavia went to help in the kitchen, which Gus expected. Octavia loved being in the kitchen with her mommy, which Gus thought was adorable and also a great life lesson. Gus herself had never learned to cook and still could not pull it off well. If Jayce ever left her, she would be condemned to a lifetime of fast food again.
"Be careful," Jayce cautioned Octavia, who was just standing on a stool and watching her mother work.
"I'm okay, Mommy," the little girl answered with her usual bright smile.
By the time the bell rang signaling that their guests had arrived, Gus felt that the house looked good enough and Jayce was almost done with their meal. Gus grabbed Augustus and went to answer the door. Trevor and Travis smiled as Gus invited them in.
"Where's the missus?" Gus asked curiously as the two males entered the house. She closed the door behind them.
"Work, work, work. Helena's a slave for her office," Trevor replied with a lighthearted shrug. "Not that I should judge her since I get to work from home. We brought dessert," he said, holding up a plastic container that clearly held a cake.
"Well, I never argue with a man holding a cake. Glad you brought that since Jay didn't have time to make something herself, but you know you didn't have to bring it," Gus pointed out.
"I knew you were going to say that, but I think most people feel better about showing up to a new friend's house with something rather than nothing," Trevor countered.
"You brought this guy, so that's enough," Gus remarked, looking down at Travis. "Hey, if you go in the living room, there's a giant TV with cartoons already playing on it and Octie is waiting for you to hang out." She pointed him in the direction that he needed to go on.
Travis nodded and ran off. The two adults could hear Octavia greet her new friend with a joyous shout. They laughed and then turned their attention back to each other. Gus motioned for Trevor to follow her, so he could put the cake down.
"Hello again, Trevor," Jayce greeted their guest, smiling as she moved around the kitchen. Later on, she was going to have to let Gus know in detail just how much she loved the kitchen.
"Hey, Jayce, I come bearing a cake," he replied, holding up his bounty.
"Thank you so much. You can leave it on the counter. We're going to be having baked ziti. Is that all right with you?" she asked politely.
"Sounds and smells good to me!" Trevor announced, patting his flat belly.
Dinner was served a few minutes later. They decided to eat in the living room since the dining room was not ready for company just yet. Octavia and Travis were glad to hear that they were having a "picnic" in the living room, but disappointed to know that the television would be turned off while they ate.
"Can I have chocolate milk?" Octavia requested with a bright smile.
"Chocolate milk with ziti? It might upset your tummy," Gus said, rubbing the aforementioned body part. Octavia giggled and pushed the large hand away.
"May I have it too?" Travis requested with a twinkle in his deep green eyes.
"Do you mind?" Jayce asked Trevor, who shrugged.
So, the children had chocolate milk while the adults had iced tea. Gus explained that they did not have wine in the house because they did not drink, just in case Trevor was expecting alcohol at any point during the night. He was not put off by that and quite happy with the iced tea.
"Oh, my god! This is delicious!" Trevor proclaimed as he ate his first bite. "You even baked vegetables in it!"
"My two girls eat veggies best when they're covered in cheese, especially broccoli. It's even better when there's enough to cover up the fact that they're eating veggies," Jayce explained.
"I guess the same could be said of Travis," he commented, watching his son eat the ziti without complaining about the vegetables at all. "You have to tell me how you make it because anything that makes him eat veggies a god-send to me."
Jayce chuckled. "Sure, I'll tell you."
Once everyone had a beverage and toasted, buttered bread to go with their ziti, conversation filled the air along with sounds of enjoyed eating. The children were locked in their own conversation, which the adults had some trouble following because it bounced around without rhyme or reason to it. The adults ended up conversing mostly to each other once they conceded it was pointless to try to follow the kids.
Upon talking, Gus and Jayce learned basic information about Trevor and he learned the same of them. Gus proudly spoke out her businesses, more her software company than her spa. Her software company, which made educational items for children, was her first child pretty much. Trevor smiled as he found out about the company because he had purchased several things from it for Travis. Travis seemed to like the math games the best.
Trevor was kind of a stay-at-home dad, but he worked. He wrote self-help books. He actually seemed a bit ashamed of it and considered himself a hack. He admitted that after a while, he just started repeating things in his books whenever his publisher was on his back, but people still bought them. He quickly backed that up by saying that he had a masters' degree in psychology and was not just pulling his advice and methods out of his ass. He loved the job for the time it allowed him to spend with Travis, especially since Helena's job was so demanding and she did not have much free time.
Jayce related to him. She was an accountant, able to work from home most of the time. She had been hired by an accounting firm last year-after a three year absent from an office-and worked out a very good schedule for herself. She did not have to go into the office more than a couple of times a week. She supposed it helped that she brought in a lot of clients, including her wife. But, working at home gave her time with the children and they did not have to worry about trustworthy babysitters or expensive daycare. Plus, Jayce loved being around them.
"Papa, cake now?" Octavia requested, holding up her empty plate, so it was clear that she was done.
"How do you even know there's cake, munchkin?" Gus inquired, smiling at her daughter and petting her on the head.
"Travis said so!" she answered.
"We boughts it!" Travis added in proudly, pointing to himself and his father. Apparently, just a little time with Octavia and he was not so shy anymore.
"So, cake, Papa?" the little girl requested once more, dark eyes pleading with Gus.
The businesswoman sighed and turned to Jayce. "They are finished," she pointed out.
"I'll get them some cake," Jayce conceded, slowly standing up to go to the kitchen.
"Oh, and then I could show Travis my room, please, Papa?" Octavia pleaded, clasping her hands together like a tiny beggar.
"I don't see a problem with that, but you may want to ask Travis before you just pull him along somewhere," Gus remarked with a smile.
"Oh, yeah!" Octavia then turned to her new friend, wanting to know if he would like to come and see her room. He agreed.
"I actually should've practiced saying no to that for when it comes up again in about twelve years," Gus quipped, earning a chuckle from Trevor.
"Well, that's a missed opportunity," the writer replied.
"If we're going to be neighbors for a while, I'm sure it'll come up again. Princess has taken a liking to your boy," Gus said and supported that by motioning to the children, who were lost in their own conversation again.
Jayce returned with cake for everyone. The children had small slices, but they did not complain. As soon as the children were done, Octavia picked up her plate and urged Travis to do the same. She led him into the kitchen to put their plates in the sink and then she pulled him upstairs to see her room.
"I don't think Travis knows what he just got into," Gus commented with a laugh.
"I just want you to know, I expect a huge dowry from Octavia," Trevor joked.
"First of all, to get her out of the house, you have to kill Jay because she's not letting that little girl out of her sight. They're already enrolled in all the same classes from kindergarten until graduate school," the businesswoman stated. "In fact, Jay, haven't you already picked out who our princess will be marrying?"
Jayce stuck her tongue out at her spouse. "That would be you, Miss Paranoid. There's a reason you got the title of 'papa.'"
Gus shrugged. "Ah, you got me there."
"Why does she call you papa?" Trevor inquired curiously. "I'm sorry, I don't know any lesbian couples. Is that normal?"
"Normal for Octavia, yes," Gus said. "It's a bit complex as to how I became 'papa.' She calls me papa because we used to have her in this daycare program. She didn't go often, but we wanted her to interact with other children and she noticed that most of them with two parents had a mother and a father. A mommy and a daddy or a mama and a papa. Well, Jay was already mommy, so I had to be something else."
"But, why not daddy then?" Trevor asked. "Oh, I hope I'm not getting too personal or anything."
"Not at all," Gus assured him. "I think she went with papa because one of her favorite stories the main character calls her father 'papa' instead of 'daddy.' In fact, in a lot of stories the word 'papa' gets used instead of daddy. Before that, she used to just call me Gus, but I much prefer being a papa." Her grin attested to that fact.
"Now, he's Gus," Jayce said, rubbing the baby's back. She was now holding him because she was going to have to go feed him in a couple of minutes.
"She can't say Augustus yet without tripping over her own tongue," Gus added, referring to Octavia.
"I'm surprised she can even say her own name. How many people have the name Octavia, after all?" he chuckled.
"She likes her name. Jay taught her how to spell it not too long ago and that's all she did for like a month. She would spell it for any and everybody. Of course, this has the drawbacks of fooling people into thinking she can spell. Big mistake," Gus said, laughing somewhat too.
"People were asking her to spell words she never even heard of, which would lead her back to me and asking me to teach her how to spell it. Before long, she didn't even know who she was," Jayce remarked with a dramatic sigh.
"Well, I know not to make that mistake. She'd be a pretty advanced four-year-old if she could spell, though. What about this guy? How old is?" Trevor asked, tugging at Augustus' sock and getting a drooling grin out of him.
"He's only six months, but don't tell him that. He's been trying to walk ever since he crawled out of my womb and hasn't gotten close yet," Jayce replied.
"Oddly enough, he doesn't try anything else. He refuses to try holding a bottle or to sit up on his own or make a sound beyond crying and laughing or do anything that even hints that he's going to stop being a baby one day in the distant future. I'm sure this is one kid that'll still be living here when he's thirty," Gus teased the infant. "Little does he know, but as soon as he can get a paper route, I'm taking his room and turning it into a pool hall."
Jayce smiled and shook her head. "Don't mind Gus. She's been saying things like that ever since he was born, even though she knows she's going to break down and cry the second he has to leave for college or a job or whatever years from now."
"Are you kidding? Little man is going to be on his own the second I hear a word out of him. Soon as he says something that I mistake for a word in any language, he's packed up and out of here," Gus joked.
Trevor laughed, which earned a big smile from Gus and an amused headshake from Jayce. The three spoke for a little longer before Trevor decided it was time for him and Travis to go. The whole Tucker family saw them to the door with Octavia shouting her farewells the loudest, mostly to Travis as expected. When the door closed, she turned her attention to her parents.
"Travis is nice!" Octavia declared.
"I'm sure he is, princess. Now, it's time for all little princess to get ready for bed. Let's go run you a bath and then I'll read you a good story, okay?" Gus offered.
"Yeah!" Octavia ran for upstairs with Gus following closely behind her.
Jayce yawned as she fell face first into king-sized bed. She was thankful that Gus had taken time after Octavia fell asleep to put sheets and pillows on the bed. They were new, so they did not have the sweet lavender smell that clung to Gus as if she produced the aroma naturally.
"All in due time," Jayce muttered, hugging a pillow to her head.
"How dare you fall into our new bed wearing ?" Gus paused to release a dramatic shudder. "? pajamas," she finished, falling into bed and spooning her wife from behind.
"Feels like you have on pajamas too," Jayce commented. Her pajamas were little more than a torn up old t-shirt that used to belong to Gus.
"Just the usual." Gus' pajamas were a tank-top and flannel boxer shorts.
"Well, I'm wearing the usual too, so you shouldn't complain. If I thought we had a chance of making it through the night with nothing happening, I might have dressed differently, but I don't think we're going to make it."
"Hey, Octie might surprise you," Gus argued, pulling the sheet over them while making sure to stay close to Jayce's body.
"Maybe in a week, but not the first night in a new house."
"Her excitement might help her sleep through the night. She was so full of energy and zipping around. She's probably worn out," the taller woman reasoned.
"You might be right. We'll see." A soft sigh escaped Jayce. "Thank you again for this, baby. You're the best."
"I prefer to think of you being the best. You've given me everything I ever wanted and now I want to do the same for you."
Jayce squeezed Gus' hand. "You do, sweetheart. After all, you gave me a loving family. And you might have possibly gotten my mother off my back with this move."
Gus scoffed. "I hope so. I'm sick of hearing her voice bitch about taking 'Princess' back. Although I still get a kick out of remembering her face when you told her that you changed Octie's name."
"She deserves a proper name after someone that loves her. My idiot mother refuses to accept that Q named her after his dog. What kind of asshole names a baby after a dog?"
Gus kissed behind her wife's ear and stroked her soft hair briefly. "Hey, don't get worked up. Remember, it was thanks to your brother that we're her parents."
"I never thought he would give up his rights to her. But, then again, he was out of his mind, wanting all that money for a fix. I feel guilty for giving into him, but she needed us."
"We did the right thing. You still have faith that Q might turn it all around someday when he's ready. Keep that faith. Now, stop worrying about it and let's get some sleep. We've got a lot to do tomorrow. So many boxes," Gus sighed, snuggling closer to her wife.
Jayce nodded and tried to clear her mind of past annoyances. Her mother had been a thorn in her side pretty much from the day she was born, but certainly ever since she came out of the closet over ten years ago. Her mother-Marion Newton-had been making her life Hell, but even more so since she gained custody of her brother's daughter three years ago.
Octavia Tucker used to be Princess Newton and the fact that she was in Jayce's care had always ate at Marion. It only got worse when Marion found out that Jayce was in a stable relationship with Gus and they were raising Princess together. Marion harassed them at every turn, especially after they changed Princess' name. Jayce thought her mother might have a heart attack when she found out that Quentin relinquished parental rights to the girl and Jayce was able to legally adopt her.
Octavia herself could not remember ever being called "princess" unless it was one of her mothers' nicknames for her. She also could not remember a time before Jayce was her mommy and Gus was her papa. Jayce was happy for that because Octavia had a hell of a first year of life. Sometimes, she wondered how Octavia even survived that first year.
Just as she was drifting off to sleep, Jayce felt a small body collapse on top of her and Gus. Smiling to herself, she moved away from Gus, allowing Octavia to settle in between both of them. It was a routine that they all knew, so no one said anything as the little girl pulled her mothers' arms over her to make sure they were both close by.
Jayce knew within seconds both Octavia and Gus were back to sleep. She sat up a little, looking over at the crib a couple of feet away. Everything was quiet over there. With that, Jayce was able to relax and drift into a peaceful sleep.
Gus woke up with familiar weight on her chest. Octavia, she knew. Moving her hand, she rubbed the child's back while noting that their little princess seemed a bit heavier than usual. That brought a smile to her face because Octavia was such a tiny child. She and Jayce had been spending the last three years trying to undo the damage Quentin Newton had done to the little girl. She liked to think they were doing a good job.
There was no real evidence left over that Octavia had clung to life her first year except for her small stature. She used to be very sickly, but that was in the past. Now, she was a ball of energy ? and a strange sleeper.
Parents that worked with her assured Gus that it was not unusual for a small child to take up a bed. Octavia certainly did that. Through out the night, she might start out in the middle of her parents, but she worked her way all over the bed at night. It was not weird to wake up and find Octavia sleeping across the pillows and on their heads or find her feet tucked under their chins.
Hazel eyes flickered open, seeing the tangle of ebony locks that belonged to Octavia. Glancing over to her right, she saw that Jayce was gone. Taking a long sniff, she could smell what Jayce was up to.
"Oh, breakfast our first morning in the new house," Gus smiled. Glancing down at the dead weight on her torso, she considered easing Octavia off of her and just letting her sleep. "No, she'll want to be up and running around in the backyard or something."
With that decided, she shook Octavia, who whined a bit in complaint. The whining got her nowhere as Gus continued to shake the girl and rub her back, waking her little by little. Octavia whined more, but her eyes opened up.
"Come on, munchkin, Mommy made breakfast," Gus informed the child.
"Breakfast? I wan' pancakes!" Octavia cheered.
"I don't know if it's pancakes, but come on, let's get ready, so we can see what it is."
Octavia nodded in agreement. "Getting ready" before breakfast consisted of washing their faces, brushing their teeth, and Gus did Octavia's hair. Everything else would be done after breakfast. Gus used to get ready first, but Augustus liked to throw whatever he could get his hands on, which included food, and she would have to change or do her hair again. It was never fun.
After carefully combing and brushing Octavia's soft hair, Gus put in three simple twists. She made sure to put in the girl's favorite ties and barrettes. As soon as she finished, Octavia ran off, not knowing if her hair was done or not. She just wanted to see if there were pancakes waiting.
"Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes!" Octavia chanted as she charged down the stairs and went into the kitchen. Her eyes lit up as soon as she saw the stake. "Pancakes!"
"I take it we have pancakes," Gus commented with a smile as she came in right behind their daughter.
"I thought you'd both like your favorite breakfast as our first breakfast in our new home," Jayce replied with a bright smile as she flipped the latest flapjack. "I didn't know if you guys wanted to sit in the dining room or not, though," she added.
"Let's eat in the dining room for now. I think we should get some stools or tall chairs to eat around the island, eventually. The dining room table seems like its too big right now for us," Gus commented, walking over to her wife. She gave Jayce a tight embrace, earning her a quick kiss before Jayce had to turn her attention back to the pancake.
"Agreed. Okay, you move the plates in there while I finish this up," Jayce instructed her spouse.
Gus nodded, but before she started her tasks, she went to greet their son. Augustus was on a blanket on the floor at the far end of the kitchen, away from everything. His favorite toys were there to keep him company, even though he only seemed interested in lying on his stomach with his arms spread as far apart as possible and his little, chubby legs bent at the knees, so that his feet were in the air. It looked like he was trying to fly or something.
"Something ain't right with you, little Caesar," Gus chuckled as she picked him up and kissed his fat cheek. "I love you, anyway, little man," she whispered.
He grinned at her and did not stop, even when she put him down. She would have kept him, but he liked touching food that was not his and she was not going to let him put his grubby, drool-covered little mitts on her pancakes! She grabbed the plate that had the pancakes on it as Jayce slid the last hotcake onto it. Gus then grabbed another plate with fluffy scrambled eggs on it.
Octavia, wanting to help, grabbed the plate of sausages, making sure to hold it with both hands. She had had mistakes with that in the past, dropping several plates and food, but had learned from them. Easing the plate onto the table next to the pancakes and eggs, she grinned up at her 'papa' for acknowledgement of her good job.
"Way to go, munchkin! You carried it without dropping any of them," Gus said, petting the top of the girl's head.
Gus helped Octavia into a chair as Jayce came in with empty plates and glasses. Gus went back into the kitchen to grab the baby and some juice. Since they did not have Augustus' highchair unpacked yet, he had to go in his swing, which he was fine with. By the time she was done with him, Jayce had already made her plate for her. She had a nice stack of four pancakes, four pieces of sausage, and a saucer with her eggs because she hated when syrup touched her eggs.
"Oh, these are cim'mona!" Octavia giggled as she took her first bite of pancake.
"Cinnamon, baby," Gus gently corrected the child.
"An' cheese!" Octavia said, eating some eggs.
The parents chuckled at Octavia's youthful enthusiasm and started in on their own meals. While they ate, Gus wanted to know what Jayce had planned for the day. The accountant figured that she would tire Octavia out by unpacking and then she would get some work done while the girl napped. Gus laughed at the game plan, not too sure it was going to be successful if Octavia noticed their backyard first.
"Let me worry about the kids. You just get to work and continue to be a business genius," Jayce joked as she cleared the table from their finished meal. Octavia joined in, eager to help in any way she could.
"Genius am I? Keep talking like that and I might show up here with flowers tonight," Gus said.
A skeptical snort was followed by, "Get going, you."
Gus chuckled, but did as ordered. She went to get ready for work and was then sent on her way with hugs from her family. As soon as she was gone, Jayce turned to Octavia and proposed that they unpack.
"Your papa would like to come home to a nice, clean house, right?" Jayce said to the child.
"Yeah, let's do it for Papa!" Octavia cheered, throwing her hands up.
Jayce knew that would get the little girl going. They moved their operations into the living room. Augustus was placed on a blanket and given a cookie to gum, which would keep him occupied for a while. With the baby secure, the other pair got to work.
The work was interrupted for a moment by the doorbell ringing. Jayce went to see and was not surprised that Trevor and Travis were on the porch. There were smiles all round.
"We've come to volunteer our services to help you guys unpack," Trevor explained with friendly sincerity.
"Is it really this boring at your house?" Jayce teased.
"More so. We were counting carpet fibers before Travis thought about how our neighbors house is full of nice girls and good food," Trevor joked.
"You must have us mistaken for another house. We don't have any food and only brats," Jayce replied.
Trevor chuckled. "Well, we like brats just the same. But, seriously, do you need any help? We've got nothing better to do."
"How do I resist and offer like that?" Jayce asked with a laugh.
Trevor chuckled again before releasing Travis into the house. The little boy easily found Octavia clearing out a box. She cheered when she saw him and pulled him into a familiar hug; obviously, she believed they were the best of friends. Their parents laughed at the sight, especially since Travis looked so confused about what was going on.
"You put the girl to work? Slave labor at four," Trevor commented with a laugh.
"Nah, she's not even working. I left her to unpack our photo albums. It's a complete distraction for her," Jayce explained, going back to her own box.
"Loves pictures of herself?"
"She loves pictures in general. And now that Travis is here, she'll have to point out everyone she knows and tell him nonsense stories about them. I hope to God he's interested or you'll have to arrest us for human rights violations," she quipped.
Trevor laughed. "Nice," he hummed.
The adults worked for a while, checking on the kids every few of minutes. Just as Jayce predicted, Octavia was going through a photo album with Travis and pointing out all the people she knew along with telling stories. He seemed pretty interested, like he had never heard such things before.
"He's really into her story," Jayce noted.
"He is. I think he's really happy someone his age is talking to him," Trevor commented.
"Are there really no kids around here?"
"They're older kids, like nine and ten. I tried letting him play with them, but they tease and bully him because he's so much younger. I think that's why he's so shy now. He doesn't trust new people thanks to those kids."
Jayce glanced over at Travis, his cute, cherubic, smiling face as he listened to Octavia prattle on. "That's horrible. He's such a little sweetheart. I hope he and Octavia remain friends then. She's obviously excited about him."
Trevor nodded. "I'm glad you guys moved in. You seem like really nice people. Travis talked about Octavia the whole night when I tried to put him to bed. He wants her to come over and see his room too."
"I might take you up on that one day soon. I love her and all, but I appreciate when she naps too," Jayce remarked.
"I think all parents like that," he said and then he looked at Octavia, whose hands were flying as she used them to help her in her story. "Although with her, I can totally understand it. How do you keep up with that much energy?"
"I only have to last for a few hours before Gus takes over and then they're both all over the board. Gus has more energy than anyone I've ever met."
A nod. "How long have you been together?"
"Three years. Three wonderful years."
Trevor nodded and then glanced over at Octavia again. "Um ? forgive me for asking this, especially if it's out of line, but who did the little princess belong to originally, then? I hope that's not too personal!" His cheeks flushed red with embarrassment.
"No, it's fine. What makes you ask, though?"
"Well, you said Octavia is four, so she was alive before you and Gus got together. Did Gus have her? Is that how she managed to get two babies named after her?" he inquired with a light laugh.
"Oh, no. Octie was my niece. My brother was in no way ready to take care of a child and her mother died days after she was born. I took care of her first and then Gus came along. Gus and I both adopted her, so now she's ours."
"That's really great. So, when did you two tie the knot? To me three years seem like a short time because me and Helena waited forever to get married."
"We've been married for a year and a half. What about you and Helena?"
"We've been together forever a day. It's been over twelve years now. I met her when I was a freshman in college, she was a sophomore. She made it clear that she didn't want to get married until she was done with school. So, we waited five years, undergrad and grad school. After that, she was in a rush to get married because she didn't want be working when we had our honeymoon. I actually proposed to her two years after being together, but like I said, I had to wait three more before she was ready. Who proposed between you and Gus? I get the feeling it was her," he said.
Jayce smiled and laughed. "It was her. Gus knows what she wants and she goes after it. Sometimes, sooner than others. She proposed to me six months after we started dating. She was nervous about it, so she bungled it a little."
"I bungled it a lot. Helena laughed so much I thought she was going to break up with me. You know, she's a very serious person, so when she started laughing, I was sure it was all over," Trevor said, shaking his head.
"Well, I can see it didn't end how you thought it would."
Trevor made an exaggerated move of wiping sweat from his brow and sighing. "Thank goodness for that. She's not a bad person, just serious and goal-oriented. We're really opposites on a lot of things, but I love her."
"Me and Gus aren't like that. We're really similar. We like the same things mostly and want many of the same things," Jayce said, warmth in her eyes and in her voice. She glanced around the house and to the children. Yes, she and Gus wanted a lot of the same things.
Trevor noticed her eyes stray to the children. "Do you think you'll have anymore kids?"
"I think we're at our limit. Two seems like enough for now, but who knows what might happen years from now. We'll have to get more creative on the names, though," Jayce quipped with a giggle. "What about you?"
"I'd like another one, but I have to wait for Helena. It wouldn't be fair to her. She's already so stressed about her career. While she's a strong woman, I don't want to test that by telling her we should have another child just yet. When she's ready, she'll tell me."
Jayce smiled. "You're a great guy. Trevor."
He blushed and laughed. "I do my best!"
Gus entered the house to the sound of laughter. She did not have time to focus on it as Octavia charged out of nowhere and collided with her. Gus laughed as she returned the child's strong embrace.
"Papa!" Octavia smiled as if she had not seen Gus in years.
"Baby!" Gus replied with similar enthusiasm, pulling the child up, so Octavia could wrap her little arms around Gus' neck.
"I helped'ed Mommy!"
"I can't wait to see this," Gus said, strolling toward the living room. She noticed Travis poking his head out of the room, obviously looking for Octavia to come back. Gus guessed the laughter was from her wife and neighbor. "Hey, I think you lost this," the businesswoman remarked as she came into the living room.
"Please, keep it. It's had too much sugar," Jayce joked. She was pulling out movies from one of the boxes and stacking them by the TV stand.
"Who gave it sugar?" Gus looked between Octavia and Travis, thinking they might have sneaked it while the adults were busy with unpacking.
"The guy I once thought was great," Jayce commented, cutting Trevor a mock-glare.
"I didn't know she could get worse from a simple pixie stick!" Trevor argued.
"You gave Oh-Hyper-One here a stick of pure dyed sugar and didn't think it would be that bad?" Gus shook her head. "Just when I was growing to like you," she teased, smiling as she spoke.
Trevor had no defense. He helped a little bit more with the unpacking before he and Travis had to get home because Helena was going to be there soon; they liked to greet her. Goodbyes were said and Octavia begged for Travis to come back later. Trevor promised his son would be back tomorrow. Minutes after Travis left, Octavia fell asleep, having missed her nap because she was up with Travis.
"Now, if only he would go to sleep," Jayce commented, holding the baby and rubbing his back.
"Has he eaten?" Gus asked curiously, even though she knew her spouse was on top of things like that. She sat down on the floor with Jayce and the baby. "We need to get some sofas before my back gives out," she grumbled.
"You're the one that thought getting a new TV was more important than getting a couch," the younger woman pointed out with a laugh.
"Oh, I still believe that. Imagine the princess without a few thirty minute distractions," Gus said and Jayce groaned. The businesswoman nodded. "Exactly. We'll go shopping for couches this weekend. Okay?"
"Sounds good. It'll give Octie something else to jump on."
Gus laughed. "I'll throttle her if she starts jumping on the sofa again. Sometimes, I swear it's like we haven't taught her anything."
"You know, when she's with Travis, you can really see the lessons come through. She shared everything with him today. She counted to make sure they got the same amount of cookies, she told me which mugs to give them so they had the same amount of juice. She was happy to let him use her favorite cup. She promised to show him all of her movies when he came back."
"She's so happy to have a friend. She's never been like this before."
"Well, everyone she went to daycare went was already there for seven or eight hours. They were used to each other while she was there for just a few of hours and only once or twice a week. But, she did used to have that thing with sharing the toys and making sure everyone got turns with really good ones when she was there. She's a good girl."
The taller woman nodded. "I know. How long were Travis and Trevor here?"
"Almost all day. Of course, our princess loved it. I let her go through the photo albums and she talked Travis' ear for the whole day. Trevor helped me with the boxes. We didn't get too far because Trevor talked me ear off the whole time."
Gus laughed. "Guess Travis wasn't the only one that could use a friend."
"I suppose. It's too early to say if that's true," Jayce replied, moving to curl up next to Gus. Long arms quickly engulfed her and pressed her into the strong, firm body of her spouse.
"Well, it's that or he's got a crush on you," Gus teased.
"Oh, yeah, he seemed like he was getting really hot when I excused myself to feed your clone."
"It's good to know I'm not the only one that likes it then!"
A giggle escaped Jayce. "You like it because you're a perv. Now, are you going to help me finish unpacking what we can? We might be able to make our bedroom look like a room before our little hurricane wakes up."
"Geez, woman, I've only just come in from the office and you're already trying to put me to work!"
Jayce tapped her partner on the thigh. "I'm such a slave driver."
Gus laughed and they did not move. Eventually, they did get up to continue working on the house. Augustus went back to his swing and Octavia woke up, volunteering her services to her parents. They left the photo albums to her again.
"Mommy!" Octavia called as she came charging into the house. Jayce could hear her feet pounding on the tile of the hallway; they knew better than to have carpet with their little whirlwind around.
"Yes, baby?" Jayce said, turning her attention away from her laptop. She had been sitting in the front room with her laptop, glancing outside every now and then to check on her daughter. Her daughter, who was supposed to stay outside and run through the sprinklers with Travis, but was now bouncing in front of her.
"I wanna go to park with Travis! Can I?" Octavia inquired.
"And how is Travis getting to the park?"
"His dad gonna take him and me if I can go."
"Hmm?" Jayce thought on it. They had only been neighbors for a few days, so she was not too sure if she was ready to trust Trevor out of sight with one of her most important treasures. "You can go."
"And I'm going to go too."
That time she leaped in the air. "YAY!"
"Go tell Mr. Trevor I'm going to come, but first I have to find your brother's stroller."
As Octavia charged off in her usual energetic fashion, Jayce logged off the computer. She then had a task ahead of her in trying to locate the baby stroller. Why did we pack that up? Oh, because usually we take turns holding the baby if we go out
"Mommy! C'mon! I wanna goes to the park!" Octavia said, coming back into the house.
"Hey, princess, what does Papa say about whining?" Jayce gently scolded the child.
Onyx eyes went wide as a chubby caramel-face fell into a pout. "Whining does not good. Doesn't help ever," she repeated the reprimand as best she could remember it. She was not sure what it meant, but she knew that her papa disliked whining. "Sorry, Mommy. Why we not leaving, though?" the little girl inquired.
"I'm trying to find your brother's stroller. Have you seen it?" Jayce asked, checking in one of the closets.
Octavia nodded and bolted off. Seconds later, Jayce could hear the child grunting and groaning, so she went to see what the problem was. Octavia was on the floor in the spare room, her feet poking out of a box.
"Baby, what happened?" the accountant asked, falling to the girl's side and helping her up.
"I gots it!" Octavia was trying her best to haul out the large stroller.
Jayce giggled. "I've got it. Now we can go."
Once the stroller was up, Augustus was placed in it, as was his baby bag, and they were off. Octavia took it upon herself to grab the baby bag, which was always full of everything Augustus would need for a day out?along with some things that Octavia would need. Jayce smiled an apology to Trevor for taking so long.
"It's no problem. Glad you decided to join us. I can give you a little tour of the neighborhood while we're out," the writer volunteered.
"Oh, sounds good," Jayce concurred.
"No, park!" Octavia objected, thinking that "tour" translated into "not going to the park."
"We're going, baby. Calm down," Jayce assured the child.
The group set off, walking a few blocks down before they came to a huge park. Jayce remembered driving past it on her way to the supermarket and was now glad for the excuse to bring both of her children. As soon as they entered the area, Octavia spotted the playground and pulled Travis toward it. Travis let out a yelp as he was yanked away.
"That poor boy doesn't know what he's gotten himself into," Jayce remarked with a laugh.
"This might be a sign. He might take after his father and like bossy women," Trevor declared proudly.
"Well, I hope Octavia treats him properly," Jayce said, still laughing. They walked over to a bench next to the playground area. Jayce freed Augustus from the stroller and sat him in her lap, so that he could enjoy the nice weather too.
"I think she will. You have a great little girl there," Trevor said, smiling brightly at his new friend.
"Thank you. Travis isn't half bad himself."
Trevor chuckled. The pair got into an easy conversation while keeping track of their children. Jayce noticed that they were getting a lot of looks from the other adults around the area. She asked Trevor if he noticed it too.
"Everyone in our neighborhood uses this park. So, they're all familiar with each other and you know people love to gossip," he explained.
"They're wondering who I am and why you're with me?" Jayce guessed.
"More than likely. Give it ten minutes before the most curious cat comes crawling over here to make fake pleasantries with us to figure out who you are. At least one person is going to 'accidentally' mention to Helena that I might be having an affair because I'm in the park with you while she's at work," he assumed.
Trevor snorted. "A lot of people out at this time have too much time on their hands. They don't have jobs to fulfill them and obviously it would be asking too much for them to put more energy toward their kids, so they gossip and make up stories to entertain each other and try to ruin people's lives. But, not everyone is like that. Like all places, you shuffle through the crap and you find something worth hanging on to."
Jayce nodded. "Well, I hope there are a few more of you and Travis out there then."
"I'm sure there is. You and Gus need to get ready for being the story of the month, though. I think you're the first lesbian family around these parts."
"No? Really?" Jayce could not believe it.
"Really. One of the reasons I don't know much about lesbians is because there's none around here for me to meet. I'm pretty familiar with everyone. I got a lot of time on my hands," he chuckled.
"Working at home does that to you."
"You knew everyone in your old neighborhood even with two kids?" He seemed skeptical.
Jayce laughed. "That's when I made it a point! I knew that a newborn was work and my little princess-bless her heart-was already a challenge. I made sure to know everyone in case I needed a babysitter or in case someone would offer to go to the store for me while I stayed with the kids or in case I needed to borrow something. Friends are big 'in case of' boxes as far as I'm concerned," she joked.
Trevor laughed, "Nice to know you've already put me in a box!"
The conversation was cut short as a blond woman approached and greeted Trevor. He replied in kind, even though it was clear that she was more fishing for information than anything else. While she spoke to Trevor, her eyes remained on Jayce and Augustus. Trevor seemed to get a kick out of not explaining who Jayce was while carrying on boring pleasantries, rambling about the nice weather and upcoming community events. After a while, he took mercy on the woman.
"Oh, have you met my new neighbor? This is Jayce Tucker and her son Augustus," Trevor introduced them. "Jayce, this would be our neighbor from down the street, Kimberly Anderson. Her son is that giant over there," he motioned to a boy that looked like he could have been twelve. "Believe it or not, the boy is eight." Jayce could not believe it.
"Oh, wonderful that someone finally moved into that house. How do you like our little community so far?" Kimberly asked, speaking to Jayce.
"It seems nice enough. If everyone is as nice as Trevor and his family, then I'm sure me and my family will love it," Jayce replied.
"Be sure to come to community events. They're really fun and you get to meet everyone."
Trevor rolled his eyes and after basic conversation Kimberly was on her way. Before long, other people were wandering over, forcing Trevor to introduce Jayce to a bunch of people. She got the idea that most of the people were not people he wanted to introduce her to, but there were a handful that were genuine.
"Before Helena gets home, I know at least a dozen people are going to 'casually' mention to her that I was in a park with another woman," Trevor sighed.
"Well, at least she knows you're safe and sound in the hands of your neighborhood lesbian," Jayce chuckled.
"It's not really that that bothers me. It's the fact that our so-called friends and neighbors would bring something like that up as an attempt to trouble our waters. Too many bored housewives around here or something," he commented.
"Oh, great, so I've been here less than a week and I've already gotten so much novelty. The pretty half of a lesbian couple and the smart half of an affair," the accountant joked, smiling at him.
"Hey, why can't I be the smart half?" he pretended to whine.
"Look, surfer boy, you can't be pretty and smart. I'm not competing with the scruffy good lucks, so you don't compete with my book smarts."
He laughed again. They sat there for a little while looking, letting their children tired themselves out. Trevor actually had to carry Travis home. Octavia was much too hyped to feel tired until she was out of Travis' company. As soon as she was in the house without her new friend, she curled up on a blanket in the living room and fell asleep. Jayce could not help smiling at the sight.
"I'm home! Where are my special ladies and little prince?" Gus announced as she entered the house.
"Shhh! Our princess is out like a light," Jayce informed her spouse as she stepped out of the kitchen to personally greet Gus. She wrapped the taller woman in a sweet embrace before going in for a loving kiss.
Gus smiled as they parted. "Asleep? Did you hit with a tranquilizer dart?" she joked. It was hard to put their little girl down once she was wound up.
"It didn't come to that. We went to the park with Travis and Trevor. Before that, she was running around in the yard. So, she tired herself out. I think this having a friend will work out better for us than for her," Jayce remarked.
Gus put on an exaggerated pout. "But, I wanted to play with her!"
Jayce chuckled. "Play with your son for a while. You might be able to motivate him to doing something beyond blowing spit bubbles. He wouldn't even laugh for me unless I gave him a cookie."
"He's learning to negotiate. But, this let's me know that as the papa, I will have to be the disciplinary around here. How could you give him a cookie for doing nothing?" Gus teased, going off to find their son. "That's one of the reasons he's getting a job the second he can stand up. He's a little mooch."
"Baby, don't tease him like that. You don't know what sort of things his little ears can pick up. If not her, then Octie might," Jayce gently reprimanded her wife.
Gus sighed dramatically. "Fine, I won't call him a mooch anymore, but he is still getting a job," she declared with a smile.
Gus occupied Augustus' time, whispering how much she loved him into his tummy, which made him giggle. Jayce worked on what they would have for dinner. When Jayce was done, she went to join them. They were all in the living room, not making much noise since Octavia was still sleeping there.
"Tell me about today," Gus requested, speaking to Jayce as she passed the baby to the smaller woman.
Jayce smiled as she readied the baby for his feeding. Often she and Gus held conversations while the infant suckled her. In the beginning, Gus was curious about breast-feeding and seemed so fascinated by it that Jayce thought it was creepy. She wondered if Gus wanted to breast-feed, but when she asked, Gus assured her that was not the case. Gus was not entirely sure why she was interested, but eventually she stopped staring so much. Jayce was thankful for that.
"Well, I met a lot of people in our neighborhood. Trevor assures me they'll be talking about the affair he is having with me and when they find out we're lesbians, we'll be the talk of the town for a whole month," Jayce reported.
"Great, it'll be high school all over again," Gus commented while rolling her eyes. "And what affair?"
"He said some of the people that saw us would assume we were together since we were sitting together in the park. I'm sure this will all blow over after we settle in here. They just need to get used to us."
"They better since we'll be here for the next ? I dunno, fifty years?" Gus guessed, smiling brightly as she spoke.
Jayce smiled too. "At the least, baby. At the least."
Gus smiled and leaned down to kiss the top of her wife's head. She did not care what was ahead of them. This was their family home and it was going to stay that way.
3: Family Time
"Okay, so the couch is going to be delivered today. Are you all right with that?" Gus asked her wife as she walked toward the door to leave for work.
"Yes, baby. I'm fine. Stop acting like I'm a child," Jayce replied, waving the taller woman off.
Gus pouted. "But, it's the only thing keeping me from acting like a child! I wanna be here when it gets delivered and I wanna be here when it's set up along with the other furniture!" she whined. "Working sucks!"
"Aw, but you love your job. Just come home early, you big baby."
Gus nodded and decided that she was going to do just that. It's great being the boss
, she thought as she left work during her lunchtime with no plans of returning; she did explain to everyone she would not be back. They made sure to exaggerate the extent that she was not needed anyway.
"Papa!" Octavia cheered as Gus pulled up in front of the house.
Gus had to catch the child as she flew at the businesswoman. Before she even had a grip on Octavia, chubby arms were around her neck. Gus laughed and kissed her daughter on the cheek. Octavia eagerly returned the show of affection, planting a wet kiss on Gus' cheek.
"How's my little princess doing? You being a good girl for Mommy?" Gus asked.
"I'm always good, Papa! Me and Travie!" Octavia declared.
"Travie?" Gus echoed.
"Yeah, Travie." Octavia pointed to Travis, who was standing far off at the edge of the yard.
"Got a nickname for him already? Just let Papa know when you start picking out china and things like that?" Gus joked.
Octavia did not get the joke, of course. Gus put the child down and let her rejoin Travis, who was still shy around Gus since he did not know her as well as the rest of her family. Gus waved to the boy anyway, hoping that he would get used to her soon. He waved back a little, which was good enough.
The door was open, which Gus knew was for the children to come in and out. Walking to the living room, she saw that the couch set was delivered and already in use. Jayce and Trevor were sitting on the sofa and talking with each other.
"Am I interrupting your clandestine affair?" Gus teased as she stepped into view.
Jayce snickered. "With the way our little princess reports the entire day to you, I don't think I can do a damn thing clandestinely," she countered.
"True enough. Octie is my sweet, tiny informant," Gus replied, leaning down to give Jayce a light kiss on the lips. The proper kiss would have to wait for their company to leave.
"Don't I know it," Jayce snorted.
Gus smiled and sat down, joining on the conversation. She could see why Jayce spent as much time with Trevor as Octavia spent with Travis. He was a funny guy and conversation flowed easily with him. Plus, she could tell Jayce was feeling him out, wanting to be sure that it was safe for Octavia to spend time with him. Of course, the feeling out was subtle, but every now and then, Jayce would ask a question and Gus knew the answer was really underneath the words Trevor used. And Trevor seemed to be passing the tests with flying colors.
"I have to feed the baby," Jayce realized as the aforementioned child began whining from his space on the living room floor. Picking him up, she went upstairs to the bedroom, leaving Gus and Trevor on their own for the moment.
There was a beat of uncomfortable silence between the two. Gus glanced over at Trevor and she could tell he was nervous about being around her. She could guess why.
"I don't mind you being here, you know," she informed him.
"Really?" he asked, somewhat shocked and somewhat in disbelief.
"Yes, really. I'm confident in my relationship and in my family. I know Jay is going to be faithful to me, like I will be to her. Besides, you're not her type," Gus remarked with a dazzling smile.
He laughed. "What? Just because I don't have the right plumbing?"
"There's that and it doesn't look like you have a good pair of tits on you," she added.
"Ah, she's a breast woman?"
"I might be projecting," the businesswoman admitted. "I know I'm certainly a breast woman." She laughed.
"I'm a breast man, so we should get along swimmingly," he quipped with a lecherous grin.
"I dunno while I'm intrigued by the female breast, there are other parts I enjoy. I don't know if we'll continue to get along if you can't appreciate those parts too," she teased, giving him a somewhat drunken smile.
"If brains and legs are on your list, I think we can be very good friends."
"Sounds that way," she agreed. He leaned over and they bumped fists, which made them both laugh. They then settled back in their seats and it was quiet for about a second.
"Gus, do you happen to play poker?" Trevor inquired.
She shrugged. "A little. Why?"
"I play poker with some friends of mine every now and then. Tomorrow is going to be one of those times. I figure you could join us. It'll help you get to know people around the neighborhood since my friends live around here too. What do you say?"
Gus shrugged. "I have to think about it. I don't know if the little woman wants to share friends or not," she said and he could not tell if she was joking.
"No, not really. We share friends completely. We both had to go out and make a new set of them when we got together."
"Why?" Trevor asked.
Gus waved it off. "I don't know you well enough to explain my whole life story to you yet, so how about we stick with the poker and pleasant conversation for now?" she proposed with a smile.
Trevor chuckled. "I guess that makes sense." There was a brief silence. "So, you're totally cool with me and Jayce hanging out?" he asked, just to be sure.
"I am. If I'm not worried about her running off with the single lesbians that we know, do you really think I'm worried about her having an affair with a happily married man that has a kid?" Gus countered. "Although with you, I guess it would be easy for her since you live right next door, but I know she wouldn't do anything like that."
"Hey, just checking. Since I work at home and have a lot of free time, I usually hang out with a lot of the housewives around here, so people always suspect I'm screwing around with someone. Helena?she doesn't pay it much mind anymore since she's used to hearing all that bullshit. I just want to be sure you and I are cool."
Gus nodded. "I trust Jay and you do seem cool. Don't worry about it. Now, let's talk about something a little more pleasant and less circular," she suggested.
"How about you giving me free stuff? Like any new games you have coming out, especially math games. Travis loves your stuff."
Gus laughed. "Good to know. Let me get to know you a little better and I'll take both of you for a spin around the office. We'll see about the free games and stuff."
Trevor grinned like a happy child, leaving Gus to wonder if it was really Travis that liked her company's games so much. They spoke until Jayce returned and she joined in the conversation effortlessly. After a while, the children charged into the house and it was clear that Octavia was ready for a nap, even though she was fighting against it.
"Papa, Travie teached me to whistle," the little girl reported, crawling into Gus' lap. She curled up against the businesswoman, snuggling into her body. It was a telltale sign that someone was over-stimulated and ready for a little sleep, Gus thought with a smile.
"Taught you," Gus corrected gently.
"Taught me?" Octavia yawned and her voice was low. "?taught me to whistle?"
Gus looked up at her wife and Trevor. "She's going down. I repeat she's going down," she remarked with a smile.
"Listen?" Octavia requested and she put her lips together, blowing. A hint of a noise escaped her mouth, but it certainly was not a whistle.
"That was good, baby. You can show me again later," Gus said in a low tone, rubbing Octavia's back. Gus learned early on that gentle circles around the small of the back knocked out both Octavia and Jayce.
Octavia nodded and her eyes drifted shut. She was out before she could get another word out. Gus smiled down at the resting body in her arms before turning her attention back to Jayce and Trevor.
"I think it's at this point that I shall take my leave," Trevor said since Travis was falling asleep in his arms. Travis was never one for naps until he started hanging out with Octavia. She seemed to just zap him of all of his energy after only a few hours, but then again, he seemed to do the same to her.
"We'll see you later," Jayce bid him farewell as she walked him to the door.
While Jayce did that, Gus got up and carried their daughter up to her room. When she came back downstairs, Jayce was sitting on the sofa again. She joined the shorter woman, throwing her arms around Jayce and pulling her into a tight embrace. Once they were settled into each other, Gus leaned down for her proper welcome home kiss. Jayce was all too eager to oblige.
"Why does it always seem like forever in between kisses with you?" Gus wondered aloud as they pulled away for some air.
"Oh, now you're trying to sweet talk me," Jayce teased. "We've already got two kids together, so you don't have to keep trying."
Gus smiled and shook her head. "I disagree, lovely. I now have to try twice as hard. In fact, have I told you how beautiful you are? Because you're quite beautiful. You're the most beautiful woman in the world, actually," she commented, gently pressing her hand to Jayce's smooth face.
Jayce smiled. "You know, you never let me forget why I married you in the first place, smooth talker."
"Then gimme kisses," Gus requested.
Jayce happily obliged again, practically knocking Gus back into the couch. They ended up with Gus on her back and Jayce draped over her. Through all of the affection, they remained aware of Augustus. He was lying on the floor on a blanket with a few toys, oblivious as to what his parents were doing.
"I love the way you feel against me," Gus cooed, holding Jayce tightly around the waist and pressing their bodies together.
"Good because I plan to be here for a long time. So, you better always like it," Jayce playfully ordered before kissing her spouse on the nose.
"Yes, ma'am." Gus went in for another short kiss. "I will definitely always like this." She sighed, sounding rather content. "Have I told you recently how lucky I feel to have you in my life? I feel blessed every time I look at you and our family."
"Gus, you keep this up and I'm going to think something's wrong."
Gus shook her head. "There's nothing wrong. I'm just feeling a bit sentimental, I guess. I feel refreshed thanks to this move. I feel closer to you, to the kids now. I want to make sure you all know just how much I treasure you and since you're here right now I'm starting with you," she explained with a smile.
"Well, I thoroughly appreciate it and I thoroughly appreciate you. Thank you for always making me feel loved."
Gus smiled and they remained hugged up on the couch. Eventually, Jayce dozed off right on top of Gus. She did not mind, of course, and occupied her time with stroking Jayce's soft hair. Every now and then, she glanced down to see what her namesake was up to only to discover he was asleep too. Gus got to the feeling that she missed out on a lot of action when she was at work due to the fact that the whole house was knocked out.
While the house was quiet, Gus thought on Trevor's invitation to play poker. It would be a good way to meet the neighbors. And if Trevor's friends were anything like he was, she supposed it would be a really nice time out and she might be able to make a few new friends. It would also give her something to do away from the house, so she was not underfoot with Jayce.
Yes, she and Jayce loved spending time together, but every now and then they both needed to get away from each other. It was hard to do when they shared the same friends and often got invited to the same outings. Sometimes, they needed to be able to go out alone and have a good time; they both knew that. So, playing poker might be a way to get on the road to do that. Gus decided to run the idea by Jayce when she woke up.
Jayce was taken from her sleep as she heard Gus and Octavia giggling not too far away. Sitting up, she spotted them on the floor with flashcards in front of them. Jayce smiled, knowing they were playing one of Gus' educational games. Gus always made sure to get in some learning time with Octavia when they were together.
"Okay, now what's this animal?" Gus inquired, pointing to the image on the card.
"Uh ? bird ?" Octavia guessed.
"No, just because it has wings and starts with a 'b' that doesn't mean it's a bird. Come on, Octie, you know this one. Look carefully," the parent gently urged the child.
Dark eyes squinted, examining the picture closely. "Um ? ugly bird?" The letters underneath the picture looked familiar, but she could not recall what they were at the moment or what word they made when placed in that order.
"No, princess. Come on, we've done this one before. Look carefully at the picture and then at the word," Gus said, pointing to the word under the picture on the card with her free hand.
A tiny forehead wrinkled as Octavia leaned forward to get a better look. "OH! Bat!" she announced with great confidence. "B-A-T!" she excitedly spelled out.
"Yes! Who's Papa's smart little girl?" Gus rubbed the top of her child's head.
"I am! I am!" Octavia pointed to herself with her thumb as she giggled.
"Yes, you are. Okay, let's do the next card ?"
Jayce watched the pair for a couple of minutes as they went on in that fashion. She could not help smiling whenever she watched them. Gus was so good with Octavia that most people assumed that Octavia was actually Gus' daughter, despite the fact that Octavia resembled Jayce. For Jayce, it was a huge compliment for people to think that because it meant that Gus' love for their little girl showed for all to see. The affection was genuine and obviously unashamed. Gus never shied away from Octavia and made it clear that she felt Octavia was her daughter, even if they did not share any blood.
"We are so lucky to have her," Jayce whispered, referring to Gus. "She's just a blessing, an all out miracle."
Before she got stuck in a starry moment about what a miracle Gus was to her, Jayce went to make dinner. Since she was so impressed with Gus at the moment, she decided to make Gus' favorite meal; although, it could be argued that Gus did not have a favorite since she enjoyed all of Jayce's cooking.
"I should make her something special for dessert too, but then again, she'd smell it and ruin the surprise. Maybe tomorrow. Octie would love to help too. She'll probably explode at the thought of making a cake for Papa," Jayce commented, smiling as she moved around the kitchen.
Once everything was on and she just needed to wait, Jayce rejoined her family. Gus was still going through cards with Octavia and she was also keeping a close eye on Augustus, rubbing his back every now and then so he knew that she was there. He was making himself busy by trying to pull himself up, using Gus' thigh for leverage. Jayce picked the baby up before settling in next to Gus.
"Mommy, I Papa's smart little girl!" Octavia announced, pointing to herself.
"I already know that, sweetheart," Jayce replied with a warm smile.
"Watch me! Watch me!" Octavia then turned her attention back to her papa. Grinning, she motioned for the next card. "C'mon, Papa! I wanna show Mommy!"
"Okay, okay, okay," Gus answered, laughing a little from the child's enthusiasm. She flipped up the next card without looking at it.
Octavia's eyes went wide and then her forehead wrinkled as she squinted. She put her hand to her chin as she often saw her mother do when Jayce was thinking something over. The adults were quiet as she studied the card and Augustus busied himself by pulling his mother's hair.
"Oh! Spider!" Octavia announced, slapping her palms on the floor as the animal came to her. She then pointed to each letter as she named them. "S-P-I-D-E ? R!" She grinned proudly, happy to have remembered and recognized all of the letters.
Gus had to sneak a quick peek at the card to make sure it was the right creature. "You're right! I told you that you're Papa's smart little girl!"
"See, Mommy, I smart!" the four-year-old declared, pointing to herself again.
," Gus softly corrected the child.
smart!" Octavia shouted.
"I know you are, baby. You are very smart," Jayce acknowledged with a warm smile. She reached out and caressed her daughter's cheek.
Octavia grinned wider, full of delight over being declared so smart. She seemed to put extra effort into her work now that Jayce was watching. She studied the cards more intensely, obviously not wanting to blurt out a wrong answer after her mothers praised her intelligence. But, the cards did get progressively harder.
"You want a clue?" Gus offered as the child focused on the latest card for almost a minute.
"I can do, Papa! I'm smart," the little girl proclaimed.
"Okay, okay. But, if you a clue just say so," the businesswoman said.
Octavia nodded, but did not even spare her papa a glance. Putting a finger to her chin, she leaned forward, wanting a closer look. Jayce had to take a peek, needing to see what had their princess so stuck. The card was of a lobster, but as lobsters tend to, it looked like a giant insect.
"Um ? buggie?" Octavia finally guess with a puzzled look on her face.
Gus made a clicking noise with her tongue and shook her head. "Is this the letter 'b'?" she asked, putting to the large "L" at the beginning of the word "lobster."
Big, bright onyx eyes glanced at Jayce before going back to Gus. The child then shook her head. "No?"
"Come on, Octie. You know this one. What letter is this?" Gus asked, pointing to the first letter of the word.
"A el,'" the little girl answered.
"What animal starts with 'l' then?"
"Um?" Octavia scratched her eyebrow with her pinky; a move she most certainly picked up from Gus. There were times Jayce worried her spouse and their child would scratch their eyebrows off because of how often they did it.
"Come on," Gus gently urged the child.
"OH! Lob-ester!" Octavia shouted, pointing at the card and grinning. "L-O-B-S-T-E-R!" She hooted right after she spelled it and earned a high-five from her papa.
"You did it!" Gus grinned.
Octavia nodded. "I did it!"
"Is the lobster called Ester?" Jayce asked Gus as a joke.
The businesswoman laughed. "That's how she says it. Onto the next card!" she declared, focusing back on Octavia and pulling up the next card.
Jayce stuck around for a few more animals before getting up to check on dinner. She took Augustus with her, so he would not get in between Octavia and Gus. She knew that Octavia treasured any alone time that she could get with her papa.
"Not to say that Octie doesn't like having you around too, lil Caesar," Jayce assured the baby. "It's just she has to get used to sharing Papa and she had a very special and deep relationship with Papa. I hope when you get older you have it too because your papa is a very special lady. Because of that, I made her favorite dinner tonight. When you get older, you'll see just how lucky you are to have Gus for a papa. I know she jokes around about making you get a job, but I know you can feel just how much she loves you. How much she loves us all."
Augustus cooed and Jayce smiled, taking the noise as a reply. Apparently, Gus-Gus already liked his papa, which explained why he tried to climb all over her whenever he got the chance. Jayce checked on all of the food and began turning pots off. She went to put the baby in his chair, so that she could fix a plate for Gus and one for Octavia. She smiled all the way through the task.
"Sometimes, I think I was born either way too early or too late in the era. I just love being a housewife and mother. If I wasn't a lesbian, feminists would probably be picketing outside the house," Jayce joked, setting up the dining room table. Once everything was perfect, she called for her spouse and daughter.
"Something smells really good," Gus commented as she walked into the dining room with Octavia on her back.
"I should hope so. It is dinner, after all," Jayce replied with a proud smile.
"Oh, my god! What right thing have I done to be blessed with this bounty?" Gus inquired as she surveyed the table. Waiting for her to dive right in was jerk chicken, rice and peas, macaroni and cheese, and the only vegetable that she would eat without cheese or butter-cabbage.
"Just being you is good enough," the shorter woman answering, kissing Gus on the cheek.
Gus nodded. "I'll have to be me more often."
Jayce lightly swatted at her for that cheeky remark. Gus giggled and put Octavia down in her chair, which had a booster seat in it, so that she could sit at the table and see her plate. Gus then slid into her own seat.
"I had to make biscuits because we didn't have any cocoa bread," Jayce explained, knowing that cocoa bread would have made the meal perfection for her spouse.
"I don't mind biscuits. You make great biscuits," Gus declared, just in case her wife did not know that.
Jayce smiled a bit and took her own seat, next to Gus. Octavia was across from them, focusing on her meal rather than her parents. Gus-Gus was in his chair at the head of the table, nodding off. A warm feeling settled in Jayce as she looked at her family and she reached down, taking Gus' hand. The action caused the older woman to look at her wife.
"Are you all right?" Gus asked.
"Fine. I'm just very sentimental tonight. Bear with me, please," Jayce requested.
The family began eating their food. Octavia talked endless through the meal, going on about television shows she watched that day, games that she played, and even dreams that she had while taking her nap. Her mothers hung onto her every word, as they always did, chiming in whenever she gave them a chance to do so.
"That was so goood!" Gus moaned, stretching and scratching her belly after finishing her meal.
"I'm glad you liked it," Jayce said, reaching over and teasing Gus by tickling her stomach. Gus curled into herself and laughed.
"I love your cooking and you," Gus commented, coming in for a tender peck on the lips.
"Papa! No kissy face at the table!" Octavia reminded her parents.
"Oh, right. Who started that rule anyway?" the businesswoman groaned.
Jayce rubbed her spouse's head. "I did. It keeps you and Octie from tormenting each other when you start tickling and wrestling each other. How you two manage to make showing love a plaything is beyond me, though," she replied. It always started out with the pair tickling or wrestling each other as she said and then the next thing she knew one of them would be kissing the other's cheeks, but not to show affection. It was to get spit and drool on each other as well as to mock-bite each other. The worst of it always seemed to happen at the table, before or just after a meal. She did not understand why.
"Oh, yeah," Gus agreed with a nod. She did not have the decency to look ashamed.
"All right, let me clean this up and then it's time for the little princess' bath," Jayce announced.
"Can I wear the duckie pajamas tonight, Mommy?" Octavia requested.
"Of course. And it's 'may I,'" Jayce corrected the child.
"Hey, Jay, how about I clear the table and you take the princess for her bath?" Gus offered.
"Are you sure? I don't mind, you know," Jayce pointed out.
"I know you don't, but I can't let you do everything around here. Me and little Caesar will take care of things down here," Gus insisted, nodding toward the sleeping baby.
Jayce did not argue and scooped up their littler girl while Gus moved to clear the table. She left Augustus to sleep, moving the dishes to the dishwasher after scrapping any food left into the garbage. She also moved to take the garbage out since it would be collected in the morning. With those chores done, she picked up Augustus to put him in his crib, which was located in her and Jayce's bedroom. For a long moment, she stood there and stared down at him.
"You're so precious to me, baby boy. You and your sister are something I waited my whole life for and your mommy was great enough to give you to me. I don't think I'll ever be able to let you all know what you mean to me, but I will do my best to try. I love you so much, little man. You'll never want for anything as long as I'm around, little Caesar. I will always treat you, your sister, and your mommy like royalty," Gus vowed, speaking aloud, but in a very low tone.
"Hey, sweetheart, you all right?" Jayce asked, coming up behind her spouse and hugging her.
"I'm fine. I was just admiring our little man here," Gus answered.
"He is precious, isn't he?" Jayce reached into the crib and touched their son's fingers.
"Just like his sister and his mommy. I was just telling him that, in fact."
"You're too sweet. Speaking of his sister, she is all in her duckie pajamas and waiting for her mothers to read her a bedtime story. Thankfully, she requested a really nice one, so I think we might have the bed to ourselves tonight," Jayce reported.
"Oh, if Gus-Gus doesn't find himself being a party-pooper, maybe we can do some making out," Gus remarked with a cheeky grin.
Chuckling a bit, Jayce gave Gus a light swat on the butt to get her moving out of the room. She grabbed the baby monitor on her way out, just in case. They made their way to Octavia's room and the little girl was sitting up in her bed, holding onto a very thick book. She beamed when her mothers entered the room.
"Hey, there, princess, you look all ready for bed. Now, what story do you want to hear before you have very pleasant dreams?" Gus inquired as she settled into one side of the bed and her wife sat on the other, leaving their daughter in the middle.
"This one!" Octavia opened the door onto the page that she wanted; she had been holding the section with one of her fingers to keep track.
"Hmm?you must be having a very duckie night," Gus commented.
"I like duckies. They're cute and yellow and soft. Take me to feed the duckies soon, okay?" the child requested.
Her mothers laughed, but agreed. They then began reading the tale to Octavia. She stayed awake for the whole thing; she never left a story unfinished, no matter how tired she was. Large, dark eyes were struggling to stay open as the final words were read. Once the story was over, Gus eased the book off of Octavia's lap and Jayce gently pushed the child down. When her head hit the pillow, her eyes closed.
"Good night, Octie," Jayce whispered and she kissed the little girl's forehead.
"'Night, Mommy ?" Octavia replied in a low voice and then she put her arms up.
"Oh, almost forgot." Jayce leaned down and gave the girl a hug. Gus then moved in for her own hug and a kiss.
"Good night, my smart little girl," Gus said.
The parents exited the room and were certain that Octavia was asleep before the light was turned off. The couple went to check on their son once more before descending downstairs to the living room. The baby monitor was placed close by just in case Augustus needed them. Jayce sat down on the sofa, curling her legs up while Gus looked through their movies.
"What do you feel like tonight?" Gus asked.
"I don't care. I just want to cuddle into you," Jayce replied.
"Hell, we don't need a movie for that." The older woman went and flopped down next to her spouse. She put her hands around Jayce and pulled the smaller form to her.
"I'm looking forward to years of this," Jayce whispered, wrapping her arms around her love.
For a long while, the couple was quiet, enjoying being close. Hands wandered their bodies leisurely, but without any intention beyond simple touching. Gus leaned down, playfully rubbing noses together. Jayce giggled and then went in for her own sweet, simple kiss.
"Good thing there's not a 'no kissy face on the couch' rule, huh?" Gus teased.
"We'd be in big trouble if there were," Jayce remarked, crawling further onto her wife, making herself comfortable.
"Really big trouble," Gus agreed with a smile, lying back some, so that Jayce could properly recline on her.
"Want to get into even more trouble?" Jayce proposed with a delightfully wicked smile on her face.
"I'd love to," Gus replied, growling a little. Her hands snaked down her beloved's back and settled on her glorious rear.
"You know that's always the first place your hands go? Even when it was grossly huge because of your baby boy," Jayce commented before going in for a kiss.
"I love it. Besides, you won't let me near my other favorite place," Gus pointed out, one hand wandering toward the implied destination.
"You leave those alone. You can't be trusted with them." Jayce moved her wife's hand back to where its twin rested.
"What? One time I want to see what it tastes like and you'd think I have some sort of fetish," Gus said with a cute grin, not matching with what she was talking about.
"I think you might. It wasn't one time. Speaking of time, we don't have much of it," Jayce pointed out.
Gus, showing that she agreed with the comment, went in for a proper kiss. Jayce met her passion for passion. Gus' hands borrowed under the waistband of Jayce's hands, pulling the smaller woman closer. Jayce moaned, breaking the kiss as she turned a little.
"Is it all right to do this here?" Jayce inquired, her body starting to move its own. Soon, it there would be no questions and there would be no stopping.
"Would you rather go to our room where Gus-Gus is less than three feet away?"
Jayce answered that by starting a fresh kiss. Apparently, it was all right to do "this" in the living room. Gus was certainly not going to complain, giving into the kiss and going back to groping her wife.
Gus moved the covers on the bed and settled in before turning her attention across the room. Jayce was feeding their resident bottomless pit, who woke up not too long ago screaming at the top of his lungs. It seemed that Augustus wanted company and then food, in that order. He had stopped crying when Gus picked him up, but then cried when she put him back down and would not stop until his mommy showed up. Once Jayce came to the rescue, he was fine.
With the late night snack out of the way, Jayce rocked Augustus until he was sleeping again. She placed him back in his crib before returning to her own bed. Gus immediately wrapped her arms around Jayce and pulled the smaller woman to her.
"That was quick," Gus commented.
"He probably ran out of food. I wonder why," Jayce replied, taking Gus' hands and putting them on her stomach.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were accusing me of something. I don't think I like that very much," Gus said in a low tone, moving to rest her head by Jayce's neck. It was no surprise when she placed several light kisses to it.
"I like the way you express your displeasure ?" Jayce purred.
"Really? I didn't satisfy you before? Am I a bad spouse?" Gus pretended to pout.
Jayce turned, wanting to look into kind hazel eyes. "You're the best spouse ever. You always satisfy me, thoroughly and completely. You're not just a great spouse, but you're also a great papa," she said with a tender smile.
"You're just saying that. You always say such nice things about me, baby. It makes me really happy. You make me really happy."
Jayce smiled. "I try."
"You do a good job. I don't think I compliment you enough. But, let me start with, thank you for everything you've given me, especially our wonderful family. You're actually the best spouse ever. You always have everything perfect for me when I come home. You do almost everything around the house and you never complain."
"I don't take out the garbage," Jayce pointed out.
"Well, since I'm the 'papa,' I figure I should handle the 'guy' things. Speaking of guys, your guy-friend Trevor invited me to his house to play poker tomorrow. What do you think? Should I go?" Gus asked curiously.
"I think it might be good for you. You can make new friends. These past few years, you've always watched over me. All of the friends we have now are because these are people I met. You've stick close to me to make sure nothing happens. Well, you now have a chance to make your own friends. I think you should go for it."
Gus nodded. "Just for the record, I like our
friends. We made them together, even though you did most of the networking to meet them. Next, most of the people at the poker game will probably be guys."
"Is that a problem? I've never noticed you to have a problem with male friends before. You also don't have a problem with straight friends. So, do you think it'll be a problem?" Jayce asked curiously.
"I'm not sure. I suppose I won't know unless I try," Gus said.
"This is true. So, you'll go?"
"You'll be fine with the kids for the night?"
Jayce chuckled. "I'm with them all day as it is."
"This is why I ask if you'll be fine with them for the night. Won't you need a break?" Gus inquired.
"Baby, I'll be fine. It's one night. Besides, I like being with the kids. It'll be nice to have them for the night. I can remind them that I can be the cool parent if they let me," Jayce remarked with a smile.
"You are cool. You're cooler than the other side of the pillow," Gus remarked, earning a laugh from her spouse.
"Smooth talker. Now, let's get some sleep."
Gus nodded and settled in, spooning Jayce closely and holding her tightly. Jayce snuggled into Gus' body and fell asleep easily in the secure embrace. Gus was out right after her.
Laughter echoed through the Tucker household. Octavia was trying to crawl away as her papa tickled her. Gus was not letting the little girl go.
"You gonna tell me the secret you and your Mommy have yet?" Gus demanded with a grin. When she had come in, Octavia had announced that she and Mommy had a surprise for papa. Well, papa wanted to know what it was now.
"NOOO! Mommy help!" Octavia cried, clawing at the floor with the hope of escaping her papa. Unfortunately, hardwood was not easy to get a grip on.
"Gus, let the princess up," Jayce ordered as she stepped into the living room.
"But, I wanna know the surprise," Gus pretended to whine, pulling their daughter to her chest and holding her like a teddy bear.
"Come into the kitchen then. Once you see that, go take a shower, so you'll be ready for the card game."
Gus went into the kitchen, still carrying Octavia as if she were a stuffed toy, tucked underneath her arm. The child did not seem to mind, grinning as she went along for the ride. Her grin actually widened when she heard her papa gasp.
"You made a black forest cake for me?" Gus asked.
"I helped'ed!" Octavia proclaimed proudly.
"You helped," Gus corrected their daughter.
"I helped Mommy make it," Octavia said, pointing to herself just in case her papa did not know who she meant. Gus turned the child upright to give her a hug for her effort.
"Well thank you. It's my favorite type of cake," Gus said as Jayce came up behind her and hugged her. "I wonder what I did to deserve it."
"You were your usual wonderful self. Now, go take your shower and get ready to go make new friends," Jayce gently ordered.
"Papa, you're gonna make friends? Can I come?" Octavia requested.
"But, I need you to stay here and keep your mommy and your brother company. They would be lonely if we both left," Gus informed their daughter. "Do you want Mommy and Gus-Gus to be lonely?"
Octavia shook her head. "Of course not, Papa!"
"Then you have to do me the favor of staying with them, so they don't feel lonely. This is very important and you're the only person I think who can handle it," Gus said, making sure to sound extra-serious about the situation.
Octavia nodded again and Gus set her down. The businesswoman went and took a quick shower. She threw on some casual clothing once she was out of the shower. Going back downstairs, she saw Octavia was in the living room watching cartoons with her brother next to her in his chair. Gus smiled and was caught off-guard by her spouse coming up behind her.
"Oh, look at you, already to go out and play. You try to have a good time, okay?" Jayce said.
"I'll do my best. Should I bring something to this thing? He didn't say so, but it seems like I should bring something," Gus realized.
"There's a case of beer in the fridge. I hope you don't mind carrying it."
Gus chuckled. "Are you kidding? Apparently, I'm the husband around here, so carrying it shouldn't be a problem," she joked.
"Poker nights, a child that calls you 'papa,' and all the 'guy' chores, I guess you are the husband. I have to say, you are one fine piece of husband, though. I especially like these parts of you," Jayce whispered, running her hands over her beloved's chest and thighs. "Nothing about you says husband in those places."
"Good to know. I wouldn't want those pieces to say anything beyond Jayce's wife."
"I think the whole package says that. Parts of the whole just also include husband."
Gus chuckled and turned to giver her spouse a little kiss. She then moved to retrieve the beer from the refrigerator, needing to be on her way now if she was going to be on time. Lifting the box, she was glad that she would only have to carry it next door. The last thing she wanted was for Jayce to think that she was getting weak in her old age.
"Well, I'm off," Gus announced.
"Make sure you have a good time," Jayce said, giving her spouse one last kiss.
"Bye, Papa!" Octavia shouted and she charged Gus, hugging her around the leg since her arms were full.
Gus wasted no time, putting the beer down and picking her little girl up for a tight hug and a light kiss. She went into the living room to bid farewell to the baby too. With an "I love you" said to everyone, Gus picked up the beer and went off to make some new friends?or so she hoped.
Next time: Gus gets to play poker while Jayce gets an unwanted phone call.