Chris entered the infirmary. “Lights.” The place was illuminated. “Lance, are you in here?” He scoured the large room. JC’s twins were curled round each other in the safety of the artificial womb. “Hey kiddies, not long now before you can be with your poppa full time. He loves you so much you know, I’m sure he’ll be here soon.” He placed his hand on the cool glass “Bye Teddy, bye Crystal. Lights off.” He glanced round the room one last time before going in search of his lover elsewhere.
Lance watched him go, standing in the shadows of his office, where the light didn’t reach. His face was streaked with bitter tears of grief. How could Justin and JC be so happy? What right did they have when his only love was dying, doomed to waste away in agony. It wasn’t right … not right at all. He scrubbed at his cheeks and checked out a light that started to blink over the twins, satisfied it was nothing he went to the wash basin, splashing cold water over his face, he rested his weight on his hands, his eyes closed. His breath came rapidly, almost as if he was panting as he struggled to regain his composure.
“Wow its dark in here!”
Lance straightened up, caught off guard by JC’s off handed comment and alerted him to his presence. “Oh Hey Lance, I didn’t think anyone was here, I came to spend some time with Teddy and Crystal.” JC stopped his happy banter, catching the distress written over the younger mans face. “Lance, what is it? The twins … they are okay aren’t they?” He ran to the womb, staring intently inside at the two small bodies floating around in the amniotic fluid.
Something inside the usually cool alien snapped. “Its always about you isn’t it?” he snapped.
“Wh .. What?” JC stuttered, “I .. I don’t …”
“Its always you, thinking only of yourself … the world doesn’t revolve round you Jaycee, there are other things happening, that don’t involve you.”
The brunette physically shrank from the irate alien. “I didn’t mean … Lance, I’m sorry, I just panicked, I thought.”
“That’s just it Jaycee you didn’t think. You never do! You think the world revolves around you and that damn brood of yours. You never think or even care that others might have problems.”
JC ‘s lip trembled as he fought not to cry under the vicious onslaught. “Why are you still here Joshua?” Lance asked. You should have died years ago. And every time I fought to save your miserable life! .. Why? Why did I bother? You’re pathetic, weak!”
Tears began to roll down the older mans face, shock rooted him to the spot, robbing him of his voice. Lance wanted him dead … why, what had he done ?”
“It should have been you! You should be dead …. Get out … get out and don’t you come back here. I hate you … I hate your children and I hate Justin.” A sob tore from JC’s throat as he turned and ran. “And tell your slut son that no way in hell is my Joshua going to be married to him … I won’t allow it.” Lance screamed at the brunettes retreating back. The doctor sunk to the ground weeping hysterically, suddenly sorry for his words. “I never meant it Jace.” He whispered. “It just hurts so much … so much.”
Chris was still looking for his lover when he saw JC dart out of the Infirmary looking distinctly distressed. He shouted over and was ignored as JC ran into his cabin. Concerned, he ran over trying the door, finding it locked. He pounded on the wood, “Jace. Jaycee, open the door honey, please, Jaycee open the door.
“Jace you’re upset. Did Justin do something to you?”
“Please Chris just go away.”
“If he fucking hurt you, I’ll rip his head off and shove it so far up his ass ….”
“Justin didn’t do anything … I swear. Please Chris, I just want to be alone,” JC’s trembling voice answered.
“Is there something wrong with the twins?”
An anguished sob sounded through the wooden door. “No, its me, its nothing … hormones I guess. Please just let me be alone.” JC pleaded in a tiny voice.
Chris leaned against the cabin wall no knowing what to do for the best. He really wanted to talk to Lance, he knew the wedding announcement and the toast he had proposed upset the younger man; but in the same instance he didn’t want to leave JC. His eyes widened. “Jaycee … Jaycee … open up quick, quickly.” He pounded again on the door, not taking his eyes off Jovian and the young man following him out of Big Bird.
“I told you I’m okay Chris. Why won’t you leave me alone?”
“Jovian has made a choice, he’s picked his mate!”
JC opened his door, his eyes puffy with crying. “Jovian?” He followed his friend’s line of sight, seeing his oldest son walking hand in hand with the tall bearded man from the pods. The teen was positively beaming, and the man looked happy too, even if a little nervous. Justin sauntered towards them, his mouth set in a straight line, he seemed to be probing the dark haired mans mind. JC raced to cut him off, pushing himself between his future husband and his son’s suitor.
“Hello.” He said as he offered his hand. “I’m JC, Jovian’s poppa and this is Justin, Jovian’s daddy.”
The big man grinned, his smile lighting up his face, his shoulders relaxing. “I’m Joey, and I’m very confused, this isn’t Brooklyn.”
“JC smiled kindly, “No, no it isn’t, why don’t you come with me and we’ll see if we can put your mind to rest.” He turned round finding himself surrounded by his children, staring curiously at this newcomer. “Alright, there’s plenty of time for you all to meet Joey. Go on scoot, y’all got chores to do.” Reluctantly, the boys and girls dispersed.
Joey stared open mouthed at Jewels belly as he waddled back to the pre teen’s English class he had been conducting. Jovian scrutinised his poppas face, confused by his puffed up, red-rimmed eyes. He sent a telepathic message out to his brothers and sisters as he followed him back to the cabin asking them why poppa was so upset. None of them knew why, just that he was. He squeezed Joey’s hand reassuringly as Justin growled when they walked past him. “Daddy gets a little protective, don’t worry, he forgave Joshua for getting Gem pregnant.” The JC look alike didn’t add that it had taken three months, but he didn’t want to frighten his future lover.
“Come in, sit down I don’t bite you know.” JC hid his sadness, not wanting to shadow his son’s good news.
“JC doesn’t but I might!” Justin said gruffly from behind Joey making him jump and pale.
“Oh daddy be nice, Joey is nervous and frightened as it is.” Jovian said.
“I can imagine.” JC said kindly. “I can speak from experience that it is very frightening to suddenly have everything that you have ever known disappear. I’ll make some tea.” He ushered the dark haired man into a seat and scuttled out to the kitchen, pouring four glasses of weak black tea from the samovar that was always lit.
He came back in carrying a tray that also contained fresh dates and bits of chocolate that he had managed to refine from a local bean he had discovered on one of his scouting trips. He stopped short, swallowing seeing that Chris and Lance had arrived. He sucked his lip into his mouth and offered round the tea, not meeting the blond doctors eyes as he served him. Jovian popped into the kitchen area and came back carrying two more glasses of tea for him and his poppa. The four men sat around uncomfortably, not saying anything to the teen and the newcomer. It had been a long time since there was an outsider in their midst.
Chris broke the silence. “So your name is Joey?”
“Don’t call me sir, my name is Chris and this gorgeous hunk of love beside me is Lance, my lover.” Chris took a sip of his tea, then bit into a date. “We knew a Joey, didn’t we Jace, Big Italian dude with a tendency to crash his car.”
“I’m Italian decent too sir .. I mean Chris.” Chris waved his slip off. “Are all Italians called Joey or Anthony ?” He asked seriously.
Joeys face split into a wide grin, “Well they are in my family.” Joey sipped at his tea wincing at its tartness.
Jovian quickly offered him some sugar. “We forget how bitter the tea can be, we have been drinking it for so long now.” JC explained.
“What has my son told you?” Justin suddenly demanded.
“That … er … um.”
“Justin! You’re scaring the boy.” JC berated “What my darling Justin means, is what has Jovian explained to you?”
Joey eyed Justin nervously before answering. “That this is the only colony on the planet, and that I was abducted a long time ago, and that there’s no way to leave.” He paused before continuing, “And that out of all the pods he picked me.”
“How do you feel about that?” Lance asked.
Chris didn’t miss the way JC cowered at his lover’s question.
“All I can remember is his voice inside my head, telling me silly jokes, telling me about this world, and knowing that I’d do anything to be with him.” Joey reached out and took Jovian’s hand. “I want to be with him.”
Justin nodded slowly, “You hurt him … I’ll kill you. We all got work to do, we’ll see you at dinner, Jovian you are excused from your chores for the rest of the day, see to you friend.”
The alien left abruptly followed equally as quickly by lance. Chris shrugged and smirked, “Welcome to Eden.” He reached out his hand for the younger man to shake, then frowning at the weak smile that JC gave him, went to find his lover. He was going to find out what was going on if it was the last thing he did.