Friends, Sexcapades and Love Affairs Ch. 28

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Ass

Author’s note: This journey is very close to its end! This chapter ties up everything, but the nice bow will come the next time with the epilogue. Thank you for being with me along the way, and cheering your favorites on. I’m happy that you found something worth reading in my story, and I’m glad for all your support!

BlowPopJ – He-he, Edward’s dad might not dare… for some reasons you will see in this chapter!

Jrankcold – Thank you for enjoying my story!

Hutchison12 – Ah, you put it so well, I cannot believe it! Yes, that’s Mike in a nutshell, but Ryan is there, this time, and the self-destruct countdown might not want to start 🙂 As for Shane, I’m glad he has so many supporters!

Anon – I agree with you that people should take more time to know each other before making big steps, but true stories teach us that even people who rushed into things managed to make things work. As Hutchison12 pointed out, this is more about Mike’s fears, and what other people might do to throw a span in the works. In other words, read on, and find out what happens with them! Thank you for your comment!

curiousaudrey – this is for all your comments along this story – you amaze me with how insightful a reader you are! you realized so many things before they were revealed, such as Chris’s duplicitous nature, Shane’s secret, and so on… I’m happy you’re reading this story, as well!

Chapter Twenty-Eight — Families

“There you were.” Ryan walked into the room and took in Mike with a somewhat perplexed face. “I was starting to think you’ve run out on me or something.”

Mike threw his lover one tragic look. At least, he suspected it to be tragic because that was how he felt inside. Ryan’s face fell, and there was that, too. “What’s wrong? Does your stomach hurt? You ate too much –“

“Ryan,” Mike said. “I … thought about it.”

“About what? Would you come closer? It is a bit unnerving to talk to you while you’re hiding in a corner.”

Although it took a feat of willpower to do so, Mike stood up and walked toward Ryan. He took his hand and looked down. “Maybe,” he let out an exhale, “we are moving too fast.”

“What do you mean?” Ryan seemed rightfully confused.

“Maybe we should take some time to get to know each other better.”

There was a short moment of silence. “Did anyone say something to you?” Ryan’s voice was tense.

Of course, he would be upset, but Mike needed time to prove he wasn’t a gold digger. Still, he felt as if telling Ryan about his eavesdropping wouldn’t earn him points. He had no interest in having Ryan choose between him and his parents; wait, was that what he really thought that it would happen?

“Just tell me who and what told you.” Ryan took him by the shoulders. “And look at me. I know you’re hiding something.”

“I’m not hiding anything.” Mike tried to look at Ryan, but his eyes glided off, incapable of focusing.

“Don’t you recall what I told you before everyone came? You’re marrying me, not them.”

It looked like fooling Ryan wouldn’t work that easily. But what was he to do? Just go ahead and blame Ryan’s parents for suspecting him of having malicious intents? Ryan had only known him for several months, but he had known his parents for a lifetime. It was easy to see who he would believe.

“I know, I know, it’s just that … it’s a bit too much. And moving here so fast …” he trailed off, swallowing the words threatening to pour out of his mouth.

Ryan’s hands fell from his shoulders. “Oh, damn, I was in such a hurry, but I guess you’re right.” His voice was tense, still. “If you want to go back to your place, please do. I don’t want to be that kind of overbearing boyfriend who never allows the guy he loves to have a life.”

Mike risked one look at Ryan. His face was dark, his eyebrows furrowed, and the corners of his lips pulled downward. Great, now he had managed to make Ryan feel like he had done something wrong. He reached for him and touched his arm. “I … you’re awesome, Ryan.”

A hurt look was the reply.

“You took me in while I didn’t have a job –“

Ryan scoffed. “Are you serious? It’s this about freeloading again? I thought we were clear on that. You know what? Let’s do this.” He took out his phone and fiddled with it. “This month’s expenses. Care to pay for half?”

Mike took Ryan’s phone and looked through the bills. Well, it was a bit uncomfortable to think that more than half of his negotiated paycheck would have to cover his share. “Sure. I have some savings.” He munched his bottom lip.

Ryan sighed and let out an exasperated groan. “I don’t want you to use your savings. I’m well off, and I believe I can afford keeping the person I love happy and without having to worry about paying bills. Especially since I plan to marry that person. Wait, are we still on for that?” His voice was now alarmed.

Mike stood frozen under Ryan’s hurt stare. “Maybe a bit later?”

Ryan sat on the bed and covered his face. “Micah, please, be honest. What is going on? All right, so you need to kaçak iddaa feel like a man –“

“I am a man.”

“That’s not what I’m saying. Since when is the difference of income between us an issue?”

“It’s not,” Mike protested, but feebly. “It’s not an issue.”

“Sure it is if you want to leave only because you think you cannot afford to live with me here. I know,” he added, his tone suddenly bright. “I’ll move in with you. I’ll have to ask someone to take care of Bran –“

“What? Are you leaving him behind?”

“Micah, with all due respect, your apartment is not a good choice for a dog like him.”

“But still!”

“You don’t want us to leave him behind? What choice do I have?”

“I don’t want you to move in with me!” Mike realized too late what he was saying.

Ryan’s face fell, and he appeared to be in complete shock. “You don’t? I don’t get it … do you want us to break up?” His voice was only a whisper now.

Mike wanted to slap himself silly. “No, I don’t want that! It’s just that … I’m not a gold digger!”

“A what?!” Consternation was too little a word to describe what Ryan wanted to send across with those words.

“You know, the kind of person who marries up and stuff,” Mike mumbled. And he had just let the cat out of the bag because, apparently, he didn’t know when and how to keep his mouth shut.

“I know what the term means. What I don’t know is how could you have come up with such an idea about yourself. Now I’m surer than ever that someone else put that in your head. If you love me, if you trust me, tell me who that was.”

Mike shifted his weight from one foot to another. “I kind of overeard something.”

“Overheard?”

“I eavesdropped, okay?” Mike raised his voice, but that was his anxiety, not his anger.

“All right.” Ryan put his hands up in a peaceful offer. “It’s not a problem. Just tell me who you heard and what they said.”

Mike felt his palms getting sweaty. “It was your … mom. Talking to your dad.” The truth was the only way out, even if it meant to hurt Ryan and make him lose his faith in him.

“Oh, damn.” Ryan’s frustrated whisper said it all.

“I’d probably think the same if I were in her shoes,” Mike added quickly.

Ryan pursed his lips and turned toward the door.

“Hey, wait … Ryan!” Mike hurried after him.

It was some kind of self-preservation guiding him, but he managed to reach the door in time and place himself between it and his upset boyfriend.

“I have to talk to them.”

“No, you don’t. They’ll hate me.”

“They have no right to insult you.”

“They didn’t. They couldn’t know I was eavesdropping.”

“And? Does that mean they can just throw that around?”

Mike had no idea how he could argue with that.

“Please, Micah, move out of the way.”

He put his hands on Ryan’s chest. “No way. You’re upset. And I’m to blame.”

“But I don’t want them thinking such things about you.”

“They don’t know me,” Mike argued. “I mean, all they know is that you suddenly decided to get married. And here I am, this stranger who might be after their son’s wealth.”

“But you’re not.” Ryan softened a bit. “It’s what I want to tell them.”

“They’ll be upset. After all, they’re looking out for you. I love you, Ryan, but I don’t want them to think that about me. I mean, they see a guy who’s freeloading –“

“That again,” Ryan moaned. “What’s the point of having money if I can’t spoil the guy I love?”

Something irked Mike a little. Ryan had to be wealthy, but so far, Mike hadn’t noticed anything extravagant, beyond the means of a young head of a company doing well, without being a household name, though. “Just how much are you worth?”

“Excuse me?” Ryan quirked an affronted eyebrow.

“Just tell me,” Mike replied and steeled himself for the answer. A nice house and comfortable living couldn’t be enough for Ryan’s parents to think of him as a gold digger. He wasn’t from some third world country, not to have seen that type of wealth before.

Ryan furrowed his brow and then leaned in and whispered something in Mike’s ear.

“Heir?” Mike’s eyes grew wide. Ryan continued. Shares, legacy, and a whole bunch of words that made his head spin followed. “Fuck me,” he moaned, “I am a gold digger!”

“Shut up,” Ryan protested. “I know you’re not.”

Mike began shaking his head like taken by a seizure. “I think I’ll sign ten prenups if you put them in front of me.”

“Prenups? Ah, I guess you heard that from them. No need.”

“Yes need,” Mike shot back. “I thought they were afraid I would ask for half of this nice house, which I wouldn’t, anyway, but this is serious stuff! I had no idea you were so loaded!”

Ryan scratched his head. “I needed the right moment to tell you about it all. It just didn’t come up.”

Mike covered his face. “Oh, gawd, no wonder they thought I was digging for your money! Now it makes sense. All right, so prenup it is.”

Ryan looked at him with a wounded expression in his eyes. “Are you thinking of kaçak bahis ever leaving me?”

“Of course not,” Mike protested. “But it’s your family’s money, and I want nothing to do with it. I only want you.”

Ryan relaxed. “Fair enough.” He embraced Mike and held him close.

“Will be anything about Bran’s custody in that prenup?” Mike asked.

Ryan broke their embrace and stared at him, as puzzled as before. “Bran’s custody? Are you planning to take my dog with you now?”

Mike knew when someone was pulling his leg. Ryan’s lips twisted in a grin. “Our dog,” he said in the most natural voice he could muster without breaking into a laugh.

“Of course. Our dog. But no, if you want me, and you want Bran, you’ll never going to leave us.”

“I won’t,” Mike said solemnly. “But you can tell your parents that I’ll sign whatever prenup they want.”

Ryan had a strange smile on his face. “Don’t worry. I’ll talk to them about everything.”

***

Adrian took his time to examine the grounds, now that he was no longer in a hurry, like before. “Your family lives like freaking royalty,” he told Edward.

They held hands and didn’t let go while they got out of the car.

“Don’t let them impress you,” Edward said. “It’s nothing but bricks and mortar.”

“And marble. Some gold, I think?” Adrian offered his boyfriend a crooked smile.

Edward waved. “You know what I mean. I hope you’re not having second thoughts, now that you can observe my family’s display of wealth with a cool head.”

“Second thoughts? Never. And I’m a man who takes pride in having suceeded on his own. Well, with my parents’ help who put me through school, of course, but still, you know what I mean.”

“I do.” Edward pulled him close and shared a sneaky kiss.

“Now, let’s convince your hard-headed dad that my mom will have a beef with him if he tries to rule this party.”

Edward moved and whispered in his ear. “Here’s the twist. Convince my mom and the rest will follow.”

“Good advice.” Adrian offered Edward a thumbs up. “Let’s get going. They’re not the type of people who could be happy waiting.”

“Of course. I can at least be punctual when I tell them that I plan on snatching you again, for real.”

A satisfied grin was the instant answer from his soon to be husband.

They were taken to a large beautiful room that could be called a living room, but Adrian didn’t dare to do that. He was happy to see Edward growing quickly accustomed to living in his bachelor pad, after having a life of luxury like that.

Both Edward’s parents stood up from a velvet sofa to greet them. Mrs. Hastings was, to Adrian’s surprise, not at all as he had imagined her. He hadn’t noticed her at that dinner table, the last time he visited the estate. It could be that she hadn’t been present. As busy as he had been then, he had a feeling he would have remembered her.

She was a petite brunette with a curvy figure that couldn’t be entirely hidden by the conservative suit she wore. The look in her green eyes was warm as they set on him, and Adrian knew immediately who Edward had inherited his beauty from. The coolness was, obviously, from his father.

“So this is the famous Adrian,” she spoke first, and her mouth stretched into a bright smile. “I wasn’t expecting someone looking like a model.”

“Mother,” Edward said smoothly, but the warning was there.

“I heard from your father that you two eloped from under his very eyes. Did the wedding happen already?”

Adrian smiled, too. “No, ma’am. We thought of including the families in all the formalities.”

“A wise decision,” Mr. Hastings said in a somewhat vexed tone. “We don’t appreciate scandal in this family.”

“Well, dear,” Mrs. Hastings placed a hand on her husband’s arm, “Edward is hardly an ingenue, seduced by some blackguard.” She threw Adrian a wink as she said that, but then her face was schooled into something unreadable as she turned her whole attention on Mr. Hastings.

“Still, even in this day and age, people like us should maintain a touch of decorum,” Mr. Hastings argued. “For that, we need to make it clear about how and where the wedding will take place.”

“No need for that,” Adrian said. “My mom’s already on it. She wants the best for us.”

“But can she afford it?” Edward’s father interjected in a cutting tone.

“Darling,” Mrs. Hastings intervened once more, “if we’re still on the topic of decorum, let’s not mention money at this point.”

Adrian quirked an eyebrow. Another pointed look from Edward’s mom convinced him to remain silent for the moment.

Mr. Hastings adjusted his cuffs and pursed his lips. He gestured for everyone to sit, and a maid in a stiff apron wheeled in a cart with coffee and pastries. As she moved around, placing the items on the table, everyone kept silent.

Adrian exchanged one quick look with Edward. A lazy drop of the eyelids convinced him that he could afford to relax. There was nothing he needed to be afraid of; funny how many things they could communicate with illegal bahis each other without words.

The maid was gone, and Edward’s father began talking again. “We cannot afford not to be involved with the wedding.”

“You are invited,” Adrian said. “I mean, as soon as we start sending out invitations, you’re obviously on top of the list.”

A small moment of silence followed. “We are well-known in this city, and it wouldn’t do for our son to get married without the proper attention to details.” The ambiguous words left enough room for a not at all ambiguous hidden sense.

Their wedding would become a very formal affair with the best families in the city invited. But that was not what Adrian, and, as he knew well, Edward wanted.

“We’re thinking of a party with friends, nothing as upscale as you might be used to,” he said promptly. “Also, it would be a double wedding –“

“Triple,” Edward interrupted him. “Mike and Ryan just send us a message.”

“Where was I?” Adrian asked.

“You turned off your phone on our way here,” Edward whispered in his ear.

Adrian nodded. “Well, it’s a triple wedding.”

“A triple wedding?!” Mr. Hastings didn’t hide his consternation. “What is this? Some reality show with fifty fake couples swearing eternal love to each other?”

“No, it’s just that my friends and I happened to find our partners somewhat at the same time.”

“Are you hearing these children?” Mr. Hastings turned toward his wife.

“Crystal clear, dear. Then we will just have to adjust the list of attendees and find the perfect venue for a triple wedding.” She didn’t appear one ounce fazed by the news.

“But what will everyone think?”

“They will hear from third parties that we opted for a low-key affair,” Mrs. Hastings replied promptly. “But we will take care of all the expenses,” she added, her eyes set on Adrian.

“My mom won’t be happy,” he said right away.

“Then you’ll have to introduce me to her. Mothers don’t scare me,” she added with a small smile.

Edward touched Adrian’s hand lightly. “They should get to know each other before the wedding, don’t you think?”

He nodded. That was true, and he had an inkling that his mom would be easily seduced by the strong-willed but charming lady sitting across from him.

“There’s also the matter of the family name. I hope you already told your future husband about that,” Mr. Hastings addressed his son.

“Yes, of course I told him. But I’m afraid Adrian is set on giving me his name.”

Adrian almost took pity in Edward’s father. He looked stunned.

“The Hastings line will not stop here,” he boomed.

“And it won’t,” Edward hurried to appease his father. “We will both be called Rossi-Hastings, but the children will carry on the Hastings name. How does that sound for a compromise?”

Adrian grinned. After a lot of to and fro on the subject that had ended plenty of times in bed, they had come to that conclusion. While he didn’t care for children right away, he could live with his offspring carrying on the name of royalty.

“It sounds marvelous,” Mrs. Hastings said and clapped her hands once. “Now, let’s drink our coffee and talk about details.”

***

“I can see why he likes you,” Mrs. Hastings said, as soon as they were left alone. Edward’s father had decided that he had certain things to share with his son.

“Thank you. I suppose that was a compliment.”

Mrs. Hastings laughed and set her green eyes on him. “It was. I have to admit that Edward’s previous conquests were a tad lacking.”

“In what aspect?”

“Power of will. You see, my husband is a hard man, and the responsibilities regarding the family ended up on his shoulders at a young age. I hope you won’t take his abrasive manner to heart.”

Adrian waved. “I don’t. And just so you know, I will take good care of my husband. I’ll start my own company and –“

“You don’t have to convince me, dear. Trust me when I tell you that you two, and your children, when they’ll come into your lives, won’t lack anything.”

“But I earn enough –“

“Dear, did that little rascal Christian tell you that Charles would disown Edward?”

“Yes, he did,” Adrian opted for honesty, hoping that he wasn’t putting Christian in the wrong spot.

“Charles only said that once, in anger, and he didn’t mean it. After all, it was in conjecture with Edward wanting to follow a somewhat lackluster career compared to the men in this family. Not with his preferences regarding love partners.”

“I see,” Adrian replied, not knowing what to make of that.

“Right now, Charles tells Edward what you two will receive after the wedding. I’m afraid you’ll have to up your administrative skills. Nothing is spared, and Edward will inherit everything when the moment comes.”

“We’ll do that,” Adrian promised.

“You,” she pointed at him. “Edward is, I’m afraid, a bit of an airhead.”

That wasn’t exactly a term he would use to describe his future husband.

“He’s not an airhead,” he said.

“Trust me, dear, when it comes to matters of handling such things, he wants to be anywhere but near them. You’ll see. After all, I believe there is a cost to marrying a romantic coming from a wealthy family.”

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