JC came running into the bedroom drying his hands on a dishcloth. “Relax honey. That’s it. Push your toes up ridged that’s it, push against my hand.” Justin sighed with relief as the spasm lessened. JC got up from the foot of the bed. “I have to get back to work.”
“Honey, why don’t you sit with me for a while?”
The normally well-groomed man ran a hand through his greasy hair and looked out the window to where his children were sitting round their older brother listening to he reading a story. “I can’t Justin. The kids need to eat and Joshua has a temperature.” Worry crossed Justin’s face. “Nothing to worry about.” JC added seeing his lovers concern. “He just has a cold but he’s draining Chris. This heat is stifling him and Lance.”
“I know I feel the same. Josh are you okay? You look exhausted.”
JC smiled weakly. “I’m tired that’s all. I have to get on with my chores angel.” he leaned in and kissed his lovers mouth. His eyes drifted closed as he fell into the kiss. He opened them again and broke the embrace. He stood upright and walked sadly to the door pausing to blow Justin a kiss before going back to what ever he had been doing before rushing to his lovers aid.
Justin waited till JC had left then he reached out with his mind.
“I need to talk to you and Chris.”
“You sound worried.”
“I am. Can you and Chris meet with me?”
“We’ll be right there.”
“I don’t want Jaycee to know.”
“Alright five minutes.”
“So why didn’t you want JC to be here?” Justin could tell by Chris’ voice that he was angry at the younger humans exclusion.
“It’s because I want to talk about JC. He’s killing himself.”
“What?” The alarmed chorus came.
“Do you realise just how hard JC is having to work? Every morning before we wake he hauls water from the river, it take eight journeys for him to fill the tanks.
“But that’s nearly ten miles!” Chris was shocked by this new information.
“What’s wrong Chris did you think the tanks filled by magic?” Justin asked sarcastically.
“I never thought.”
“None of us did” Lance muttered quietly.
“After he fills the tanks, he lights the cooking fires and prepares food for all of us. While the food is cooking he scours the compound for the vampire flowers, making sure its safe for the children.” Justin paused to allow all this information to sink in. “Then he serves us breakfast in bed. He gets up the children, Joshua as well. He makes sure they are washed and fed. Then he has to settle Jovian to his learning and while he watches the rest of the kids he does the laundry. Jovian helps with the others but he’s only a little boy. JC cooks every meal, makes every drink. There is nothing he doesn‘t do.”
Chris shook his head sadly. “We’ve taken advantage of him, he’s always had an obliging sweet nature. How could we have done this to him?”
“Its this heat, its a killer he knows that we get exhausted just getting out of bed so he does it himself.” Lance scratched at his enormous belly. “We need to help him, I though I was imagining it but now I’m not so sure, he’s lost weight hasn’t he?”
Justin nodded “I noticed that too, and his skin is kinda sallow looking.”
“Well what can we do?” Chris asked.
Justin lowered himself gingerly into a chair. “Well I thought we could take the kids early morning before it gets too hot and fill the tanks, with all of us it wouldn’t take so many trips.”
Chris shook his head. “He’ll never let us do that.”
A slow smile spread over Lances face. “If he was sleeping he wouldn’t be able to stop us.”
This time it was Justin who shook his head. “Jace has become a really light sleeper, he’d notice the moment I got out of bed.”
“Not if he was drugged.” Lance stood waiting for the explosion he knew was coming.
“Absolutely not.” Justin turned red with rage that Lance would even suggest duping JC, especially after the last time when he had messed with his birth control pills.
“Justin you yourself admitted JC is totally exhausted a good nights sleep will do him wonders. Me and Chris will take the kids.”
Justin shook his head and chewed his lip. He had to admit JC was a shadow of himself.
“You know I wouldn’t let you two do anything that I didn’t think was in Jace’s best interest but I agree with Lance on this one.” Chris winced as he received a sharp kick to the ribs. “We need to help him,” Chris continued. “I can take over the schooling and breakfast. Justin maybe if you cook the evening meal and Lance you take over lunch.”
“I’ll bring a potion to drop into his bedtime drink.” Justin started to protest again. “It’s for his own good. You know it as well as we do.” Lance draped his arm round his lovers shoulder. “Lets go.”
Chris stopped, “One more thing. Have either of you seen him eat lately?”
Lance tutted, “You think he’s stopped again?”
“Yeah I do.”
Justin shrugged “I’ll sort it. I’ll guilt him into eating.”
“Okay I’ll bring that potion over as soon as I can.” the three went their separate ways.
When Justin got back to his accommodation JC was slumped in a chair his head in his hands.
“Jace, what’s wrong.”
The human looked up surprised to see Justin up at that time of day. He scrubbed at his eyes hiding the tears that had previously been falling steadily. “Nothing really, you hungry?” the slim man got up and went out to where he had a huge pot of stew simmering on the stove. He poured a big bowl.
“What about you?”
“I already ate.” JC put the food on the table where seven other bowls still sat.
“Why are you lying to me Josh?”
Justin stared at him. “I’m a mind reader remember you haven’t eaten.”
JC looked guiltily at the floor. “I just don’t have any appetite, I tried to eat really I did, but I’m just so tired that I feel sick all the time.”
Justin dropped his arm round the older mans waist and manoeuvred him into a chair. “Angel you need to stop.” JC opened his mouth to protest but was cut off. “I want you to take a long hot bath. I’ll bring you a glass of wine, the stuff Chris has been brewing isn’t bad at all.”
“I can’t, there’s not enough water.”
“Honey there’s enough water.”
“The boys have to bathe.”
Justin smiled “The boys won’t suffer for missing one bath.”
“They are more important Justin. I’m alright really I am.”
“No my sweet. You will take a bath and you will have a glass of Chris’ wine. I’ll deal with the J’s and Sapphiee.”
JC found himself enveloped in his lovers embrace. “No buts sweetheart, bath, wine, dinner then sleep. Lance will be taking the children.” Justin smiled and kissed JC tenderly “I love you Jace.” The exhausted man snuggled into his lover.
“I didn’t want to fail you. I’m sorry I’m not good enough.”
Justin fought to control his emotions. “Don’t. Don’t you dare ever, ever say you are not good enough again. You are the most amazingly beautiful and incredible man ever to have lived.”
“I love you Justin.”
The heavily pregnant alien pressed a loving kiss to JC’s forehead. “Bath baby. Now.”