“Good morning.” JC said as he slid into his seat at the communal table; Justin held his chair, pushing it underneath him. He patted JC’s shoulder and the brunette covered the big hand with his own. He leaned back gazing up into his lover’s eyes, letting his own orbs drift slowly shut when Justin covered his lips with his.
Justin smiled at the gathered children. “Good morning.”
“Good morning daddy, poppa.” A chorus of voices replied.
“Morning all.” Chris and Lance arrived, each carrying a twin. Behind them trailed Joshua, Lilly-Anna, Kieran, Bonnie and Claude. Joshua smiled shyly at Jewel, and then nodded towards JC and Justin who were busy talking in low tones to his parents.
Lance whooped, clapping Justin hard on the back, before hugging and kissing JC, Chris grinned, and held his arms out to his long time friend. JC snuggled into him, sighing happily.
“It’s what you want Jace?”
“Yes,” JC gasped, “More than I ever wanted anything in my life.”
Chris rolled his eyes at JC’s youthful enthusiasm. “You are a hopeless romantic Jaycee, I swear you turn into a girl more and more as the years go on.”
JC pouted “What because I wanted a commitment, it was Justin’s idea, I never forced him into it!”
Sapphires shrill voice alerted everyone to the fact that steaming breakfast trays were being carried from the kitchen. Lilly and Kieran served, as it was their turn on the rota. Oats with hot milk, fresh baked bread with butter, and a selection of fruit preserves that had been made by JC were placed on the table. Jaden followed behind carrying a tray of hot meats and eggs. The three children served each family member in turn, starting with Justin, moving down to Chris, then Lance and JC.
When everyone had food before them and the servers had taken their place, they began to eat in silence; The J’s gave each other furtive looks, trying not to giggle. Justin frowned, and carried on eating. JC sat his eyes glued to his lovers face, waiting for him to say something.
Jovian coughed. “Did you have a nice evening Poppa?” he asked.
“Yes thank you. Did you? I know you went to the river last night.”
Jared choked on his juice. “How?”
“Red honey, you may think you can pull the wool over my eyes, but don’t be fooled, I know everything.”
“He’s fucking psychic I tell you.” Jaden whispered to Jewel.
“No not Psychic, just not deaf, and I heard that profanity, you get to wash up now.”
Jared grunted, muttering under his breath as the rest of the J’s sniggered. Breakfast was almost finished when Justin rose from his chair and walked round the table to where JC sat demurely picking at his meal.
“Can I have your attention please.”
The muttering died away and everyone’s eyes rested on him. “I have an announcement to make, as you know JC and I have been together for as long as I can remember, and I still love him as much as the first day I laid eyes on him.” JC flushed pink and ducked his head. “Last night I asked him a question, and he honoured me by saying yes. So I hope you will all be happy to hear that we intend to marry as soon as possible.”
Chris led a cheer, climbing on the table, his juice glass held high. “A toast, Justin and JC, may they have many years of love and happiness before them.”
He was joined in a chorus of “to Justin and JC.” Only Lance didn’t wish them well, he lifted his glass to his lips and took a tiny sip of the fruit juice, watching his lover jumping around, making jokes about old married couples and that it was about time that Justin made JC a respectable married man. Tears welled up in his eyes, and his lip trembled, he choked back a sob when Chris spun round and captured his eyes with his chocolate brown gaze. The smile slid from the older mans face, the pain in his partners face echoing that in his heart. He forced the grin back into place. Leading the cheers once more, as Lance walked slowly away, back to his sanctuary in the infirmary.
Jovian slopped off as soon as he could, making his way into the almost stripped shell of Big Bird. Going directly to the stasis chamber, he paused taking a deep breath before tapping in his access code. He weaved his way through the stasis pods till he found the one he wanted.
“I’m lonely.” He said, “If I revive you will you love me? Will you take me in your arms and make love to me. My people mate for life, will you stay with me for the rest of my life?”
He leaned his forehead onto the smooth transparent surface, his hands pressed against the frozen mans hands. He pushed gently against the man’s mind, probing carefully. His lips curved into a blissful smile.
Opening his eyes he walked over to the consul and typed in his password. The pod sprang to life. Lights flashing in sequence, as the defrost program activated. Jovian stood close ready to catch the man as the tube opened. Supporting his weight, he dragged the man clear, and with a struggle carried him to the recovery couch. He sat beside him, smoothing the thick hair from his eyes. The mans breathing evened out, and his chest rose and fell as he began to regain consciousness.
His eyes flickered open, blinking against the bright lights. “Computer, half light,” Jovian instructed. The light level fell. “ Do you want a drink?”
“You … you’re real … I thought I dreamed you.”
Jovian smiled kindly and stroked his fingers over the mans silky skin. “I’m not a dream.”
“Yes … yes you are. You are everything I dreamed of. Who are you?”
“My name is Joey.”
Jovian leaned in and kissed Joey’s lips, lapping lovingly at the soft mouth. “I know.” he breathed.