Hazard gritted his teeth as he pulled the car to a stop.
Roddy rubbed his shoulder sympathetically. "It'll be fine," he soothed.
Hazard snorted and shut off the engine. He looked up at the large house before them, nervous to reunite with his relatives.
Roddy smiled reassuringly and pushed open his door. "Come on, love," he said. "The longer you put it off, the harder it'll be to finally do it."
Hazard sighed and slid out of the car. "I know." As Zak got out of the car, he nervously straightened his sportcoat. "How do I look?" he asked. He was dressed in a gray sportcoat over a light blue dress shirt and darker gray dress pants.
"Like a gentleman," Zak replied with a smile. "Stop worrying so ...view middle of the document...
"Hi there, little dude," August said to Ronnie.
Ronnie peeped out at him.
"Just as handsome as your dad, I see," he snickered. "You must've got your sense of style from him, too."
The little boy was dressed in an outfit that was, of course, picked out by Roddy. He wore brown corduroy pants and a white button down shirt under a light blue brown-trimmed sweater vest with a puppy appliqued on the front. Around his neck was a little brown bow tie decorated with little white and blue bones.
"Roddy tends to dress them this way," Hazard said.
"Yep." Hazard gestured to the carrier Zak was holding, then to Roddy, who held Isis on his hip. "That's my boyfriend Zak with baby Theus and my husband Roddy with our four-year-old Isis."
Roddy and Zak smiled. "Hi," they said simultaneously.
August looked surprised for a moment. "Hi," he greeted. "I'm August, Ronald's youngest brother."
Roddy took his hand and shook, an eyebrow raised in amusement. "Ronald?" he asked incredulously. He looked over at Hazard. "Is that what they call you?"
Hazard put a hand over his face. "Shut up! It's better than my first name and they usually call me Ron!"
"Is that what I should call you from now on?" Zak giggled.
August chuckled and asked, "So what do they call you."
"Almost everyone calls me Hazard. Zak usually calls me Paige, sometimes he calls me by my last name. Roddy calls me... the same thing."
August raised an eyebrow, but didn't question him. "Come on, let's get inside," he said.
"Uh, yeah, sure." Hazard and his lovers started after him.
"Don't be nervous," August commanded.
"I'm not nervous," Hazard lied, trailing along beside his brother.
Roddy slipped his hand into the older man's and smiled soothingly. "I'm so happy I finally get to meet your relatives," he told him.
Hazard snorted. "You say that because you've never been exposed to any of my family," he replied. "Just try to keep in mind that these people grew up in the sixties and seventies."
Roddy squeezed his hand reassuringly. "It'll be okay," he said. "They obviously wouldn't have invited you if they didn't care about you."
Hazard frowned. "Yeah, maybe you're right. Maybe."
August smiled at his brother as he opened the front door. "Hey, guys," he called in, "guess who's here?"
Everyone in the family room looked over as the men walked in. A couple of the women yelled excitedly and rushed over. "Ron!"
Hazard put Ronnie down and opened his arms. He was nearly tackled to the floor by excited relatives.
"Oh my God, I can't believe you came!" one woman exclaimed tearfully. She grabbed his chin and pressed kisses to his face.
"Betty Ruth, cut it out!" he laughed.
"I've. Missed. You. So. Much." she said between kisses.
"Ugh, I can't believe it's been so long," the other said.
Behind them, a man with a beer belly whistled. "Damn, Ron, you've gotten old since the last time I saw you," he teased.
"I could same thing about you," Hazard snarked back as he peeled the women off himself. "Come here and give me a...