Ben paused just inside the front door, listening to the sound of his son’s laughter. He smiled, moving toward it, coming around a corner and catching sight of Erin snuggled up with Alexander as she read him a story.
His entire life was right there and it filled with him joy.
“Daddy!” Alexander looked up and clapped his hands before blowing Ben a kiss. “Daddy’s home,” he told Erin seriously. The kid had his mother stamped all over him. His mannerisms and the way he moved were totally a Brown thing. In fact when Alexander was with her brothers, his uncles, it was startling to see the resemblance.
Two pairs of eyes looked up at Ben. Erin’s smile was deep, her dimples showing at each corner of that luscious mouth.
“He is, monkey. I think he needs some smooches and some hugs. Let’s go give him some.”
“Yes!” Alexander scooted down from the couch and ran over, straight up into Ben’s embrace, covering his face with slobbery kisses. “Hi, Daddy!”
“Hey there, baby.” Ben hugged his son as he picked him up. “Did you have a good day today?” He headed to the couch to sit next to Erin with Alexander in his lap.
Alexander began to tell him in a rushed, excited tone about his day. About half of it was intelligible, so Ben managed to piece it together that he and Erin had gone to the grocery store and then to Green Lake where they played with Elise and Marti while Rennie was still in school.
“That sounds so much cooler than my day. Did you keep Momma safe?”
Alexander nodded solemnly as he turned to Erin. “Yes.”
Erin softened at that, taking his little fist and kissing it. “Thank you, monkey.”
“I’m so glad. Thank you.” With a grin, Ben turned his head a little and kissed her. “Hiya, gorgeous.”
And she was. Unbelievably so. Erin Brown was larger than life. Vivid in every way. And his.
“Hello, yourself. I’m glad you’re home. Todd called a few minutes ago. He’s on his way home. Alexander and I made spaghetti for dinner.”
“You did? You know it’s my favorite.” He kissed Alexander’s nose.
“Yes!” Alexander pushed down and headed to his Lego box in the corner of the room. He dumped it out and began building.
“You’ve been dismissed.” Erin winked.
“He made me dinner, that’s really all a guy can ask for.”
“He’s got a career as a drummer if he keeps it up. He kept me company with some pots and pans while I worked.” She shifted her attention to Alexander a moment, smiling. “I told him he should try the little guitar but he said he liked to hit things to make sound instead.”
Ben laughed then. “Oh the drama. Erin Brown’s baby a drummer. Woe!”
Erin socked his arm playfully. “At least Miles plays bass. Maybe Rennie or Marti will play guitar. Rennie is taking lessons from Adrian so who knows.” Rennie and Marti were their nieces.
“Maybe. It’s the family business after all. The family party jam sessions would be legendary.”
That’s when she noticed what he’d come in with and her eyes went wide with present lust. “What’s in the bag?” She peeked around him and he blocked her way.
“It’s a present. Back off.”
He laughed, standing and grabbing the bag. “I’m going to change. I’ll be back in a few.”
“Fine. Deny me the joys of presents. Mean.”
He snorted. “Clearly, gorgeous. It’s my role in life.” He waved at her as he headed toward their bedroom.
Once there he hid the box before he ditched his dress shirt and tie in favor of a well-worn T-shirt and jeans, feeling a thousand times better.
* * *
Erin padded around their living room and kitchen, talking to their son here and there, humming snippets from songs, and that’s when Ben noticed the new hair.
He could be forgiven. Erin changed her hair as often as other women changed their handbags.
Moving to her, he slid his fingers through it. “I like this.” It was short and shiny black with a fringe of bangs. She looked like an updated version of a twenties movie starlet.
He laughed then. “Did you doubt I would? I love you with pink hair, with purple and blue hair, surely I can love black hair too.”
“It’s been years since I’ve had it like this. It’s nice to have it off my neck in the back. I figured with all the wedding stuff and running around, something simple would be good.”
“Is this your original color?” He kissed her neck, loving how soft her skin was there.
“I think so.” She winked. “Yes. I had considered dreadlocks, but it’s a lot to handle, and when I want to change to something else, they’re a pain in the ass to get rid of.”
“I remember the dreads. Hot.” He waggled his brows.
“Thank you.” She tiptoed up to kiss him.
“For what? Objectifying you?”
She tipped her head back, laughing. “For always making me feel beautiful.”
He had to swallow hard against the rush of emotion. “That’s because you are beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Todd came in right as Ben was wishing he could nip her away into the pantry and make her come.
“Pop!” Alexander got up and rushed to Todd. “Daddy, Ma! Pop’s home!”
The only people who ever made a deal of who Alexander’s “real” father was were outsiders. To their son, Ben was Daddy and Todd was Pop and they were both his parents along with Erin.
Being a dad was about putting in the time and energy, the love. And Alexander had it from both men, who loved him powerfully.
Todd held Alexander upside down by his ankle. “Hey, pickle. Whatcha up to?”
Alexander laughed so hard he couldn’t talk, so Todd blew raspberries on his belly before turning him upright and setting him on his feet. He patted Todd’s knee before moving to the cabinet to peek inside.
Todd moved to them and hugged Erin and Ben at the same time, kissing each one. “Hi.”
Erin kissed Todd one more time. “Hi there, handsome. Spaghetti for dinner. Be ready in about ten minutes. I need to do the garlic bread. Got it at Three Girls when Alexander and I went to The Market earlier.”
Ben shooed her out of the way, grinning toward his son. “Alexander and I will do that. Garlic bread is my job.”
“Bread! Yes!” Alexander clapped his hands and Ben marveled, yet again, at how wonderfully vivacious and happy the boy was. He spoke in exclamation points and was always tipping his head back to laugh and laugh.
“Oh, alone at last.” Todd waggled his brows at Erin, who laughed.
“Hit me with whatever you can deliver in three minutes, ’cause that’s all we’ve got.”
Todd grabbed her by the waist, making Alexander laugh anew.
“Fine, fine. But come talk to me anyway. Tell me about your day.” Todd spoke to Alexander over Erin’s shoulder. “Pickle, put extra butter on my piece, all right?”
Alexander nodded solemnly and then took Ben’s hand, tugging. “Let’s go! Bread.”
Erin followed Todd down the hall to their bedroom, the sound of Ben and Alexander in the kitchen making Todd smile.
In the relative quiet of their bedroom he allowed himself to really take in the sight of her. So beautiful, his wife.
She paused a moment, preening just a little as he looked her over. “Let me.” She stepped to him and unbuttoned his shirt and cuffs. They didn’t always have the time for the more intense D/s stuff now that they had Alexander, but when she served him like this it still brought him to his knees.
Her hands brushed over his skin as she removed his shirt. She touched her lips to his chest, right above his heart. “I’m glad you’re home.”
All the stress of his day drained away as she handed him a shirt.
He pulled the shirt on over his head. “Seems like my entire day is about when I can leave to come home to you three.” He brushed his lips over hers a moment. “Love the new hair. Reminds me of Louise Brooks. My grandpa used to have pictures of her when I was a kid.”
She patted it and smiled, and love hit him hard. He drew her close. “I wish I could order you to your knees to suck my cock and then fuck you until you begged.”
She shivered in his arms. “Oh that’s a good wish. Thank goodness bedtime isn’t so far away. Then I’m all yours to command.”
“Too far when my cock is so hard I’m afraid it’s going to explode.”
She squeezed his ass and tiptoed up to kiss him. Soft at first, but with her it never stayed that way. Need crawled over his skin like a fever. Her taste, bold and sweet at the same time, wended through him as she sucked his tongue into her mouth. Her lips had been on his more times than he could count, but each time it was new. Each time it was a shock to him just how much he felt for this woman. Even as each time he touched her, everything in him calmed.
The sound of Alexander’s thundering run in their direction brought them both back to themselves as she licked her lips and stepped away with a smile.
“The sound of that run is like a cold shower.” He grinned at her.
“He’s going to be riding bikes and bringing his friends home after school before we know it.”
Panic flashed through him at the thought of their baby growing up. Such a bittersweet thing to be proud of a child getting older but knowing each year draws them a little closer to striking out on their own. “Selfish of me, I know, but sometimes I wish we could keep him this age.”
“You’re a powerfully magic man and all. But probably not that magic. Feels like just yesterday that he was still an infant, and now he’s running through the house like a mini-tornado.”
“Ah well. As my father pointed out, Alexander is a big kid. He’ll be a big teenager too. Probably going to be sporty and arty. He’ll get more girls that way.”
She shook her head, smiling. “Good to know your priorities are straight. If he’s anything like his fathers we’ll be in trouble.”
She sashayed from the room, casting a knowing glance back over her shoulder before intercepting their son, catching him up in her arms and covering his face with kisses. Ben came from the other direction, his attention squarely on Erin and Alexander, a smile on his face that Todd was sure mirrored his own.
What a lucky fucker he was.
Ben kissed her with a grin on his way past. “Be out in a sec. Check on the bread in a minute, please?”
“Bread! Ma, bread.” Alexander nodded seriously before laughing again.
“Let’s go, monkey.” She and Alexander rounded the corner, heading back to the kitchen as Ben approached him.
Their kiss wasn’t as soft. A mash-up of mouths and tongues as his fingers threaded through Ben’s hair, holding him in place.
“You got me all riled up again. Damn, I want to fuck.” He nipped Ben’s bottom lip. “I want to be in you.”
Ben growled and it sent shivers through him as he arched, grinding cock to cock.
“Welcome to the club.” Ben looked behind him, down the hall and then back, keeping his voice low. “I got the tickets. I also took the liberty of picking up a bikini. I got them wrapped together.”
“Perfect. I spoke to Brody. He’s all for keeping Alexander while we’re away. He and Adrian tussled over it, but Adrian’s working on finishing up his new CD and planning a wedding, so Brody pointed out he and Elise were better off taking Alexander. Plus they have the kid-proofed house and the gear. Adrian wanted to argue, but he agreed.”
“Kid’s lucky to have all these people in his life. She’ll feel a lot better about going when she knows Alexander will be with Brody and Elise.”
“I’m lucky to have you and Erin and a vacation coming up when I can fuck whenever and wherever I want.”
“Yeah.” Ben kissed him again, hard and fast, grabbing Todd’s cock through his jeans and squeezing a little until Todd grunted.
“I’m going to make you pay for that later tonight.”
Ben headed for the door. “Looking forward to it.”