Each night the oldest children took turns to serve the food, tonight was Jovian and Joshua’s turn. They walked the length of the table spooning the thick broth into earthenware bowls. When they had served everyone they took their seats and rested their hands in their laps, waiting.
Another tradition was that they would take turns each night to give thanks, working round the table a different person each day, something even the youngest of the children were expected to do. Tonight it was Jewels turn to say thanks . The twenty people seated bowed their heads in prayer.
“Thank you for the food on our table,
And the love in our hearts,
Thank you for bringing us to our world
And blessing us with parents that care for us.
Bless daddy, uncy Chris and uncle Lance,
Above all bless poppa, keep him safe and let him know how much we all love him,
Jewel looked up into his poppas eyes pleading with him to speak up, JC just looked down at his broth spooning it round the bowl.
“Not hungry my love?” Justin asked concerned,
JC smiled briefly, “not really,” he said looking up and catching Jewels eye once more. Joshua watched the exchange between father and son worriedly; he had enough psychic ability to pick up that something was going on. Lance frowned resisting the urge to pry into JC’s mind; he looked up the table to where Justin sat eating slowly. The tension crackled around the two as Jewel kept his eyes fixed on his poppa.
Justin threw his spoon into his dish and stood up, his hands on his hips. “What’s going on? The sparks are practically flying around you two. Even the most head blind person round here couldn’t miss the animosity.”
JC placed his spoon in his bowl and rested his hands in his lap, not wanting to look up, he knew his eyes were full of tears, he could feel everyone’s eyes burning into him. “There’s nothing wrong.” He whispered.
“Poppa” Jewel said his voice pleading.
“Please jewel …don’t.” JC whimpered.
Jewel reached over the table for his fathers’ hand and JC reached up and took hold of the teens fingers, beginning to cry harder.
“Will someone tell me what is going on?” Justin demanded as he stormed down the table to take hold of his sobbing lovers shoulders.
“You have to tell them poppa, I won’t carry this alone, I love you but I won’t be party to you deceiving them like this, I don’t want you to die.”
“DIE!” the word was practically screamed from everyone present.
“JC are you ill honey.” Justin’s voice was softer now as anger changed to serious concern.
JC shook his head and shrugged his lover off, burying his face in his hands. “I’m …I’m pregnant.”
The silence was heavy, suffocating.
“How many months JC?” Lance asked his face echoing the fear he felt in his heart.
“No … Oh no baby, why didn’t you tell us straight away, you know you can’t have anymore children.” Justin tried to stop the tears that began to trail down his face, Chris sat ashen faced as Lance got up and grabbed his scanner running it over the willowy older man. He shook his head. “He’s pregnant for sure.”
Justin raked his hand through his blond curly hair. “You have to take it away Lance.”
“NO.” JC jumped out of his chair sending it flying backwards, the twins began to cry. “You’re not killing my baby, I won’t let you.” He tried to run but was stopped by his five eldest sons surrounding him. Jovian pulled him into his arms holding him tightly, the others pressed close round him. Sapphiee and Lilly Anna were seeing to the youngest children keeping them occupied trying to keep them secluded from the emotional drama going on round them.
Jewel lifted his fathers’ chin. “Poppa you will die, I’ve seen it, it happens. Don’t leave us poppa, don’t leave us alone.”
JC wept bitterly into his youngest sons shoulder, the boy was as tall as he was himself now, and thicker set it was almost like being in Justin’s arms. As if reading his mind Jewel passed his beloved poppa into his daddies’ arms and Justin walked him towards the hospital building.
“Lance placed a gentle hand on Jewels arm. “You did the right the right thing Gem.”
“Then why do I feel so bad? He’ll never forgive me for this.”
Two arms wrapped round Jewels body pulling him close and soft lips brushed his face. “He’ll forgive you baby, he loves you, I love you.” Jewel turned in Joshua’s arms and surrendered to a passionate kiss, forgetting that they were being watched, thankful for the strength the younger boy was sharing with him.
Chris watched through narrow eyes as his oldest son made out with his best friends youngest. Neither did he miss the envy in Sapphires eyes. He clapped his hands loudly and called the table back to order. “Everyone sit down and finish your food, I’m not having any waste.”
The rest of the meal was finished in deathly silence with more than one set of eyes straying towards the infirmary.