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Family Time

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“I’m not sure I can do this. Go back there,” Aaron said as he shifted in the airport chair.

“Yes, you can,” Christian stated, offering the straw of his fruit smoothy to Aaron.

“I though I could but I can’t face my father, everyone. Maybe in a few months,” Aaron bargained, his whole-body tense.

“And if I really thought you meant that I’d say the hell with the flight, let’s hit that pizza place. I mean duty free means carb free right?” Christian joked before pulling Aaron close. “But we both know you don’t mean it,”

“Christian…” Aaron started but trailed off not saying anything as he leaned into his lover, resting his head on Christian’s shoulder.

“You’ve been looking forward to seeing your niece and nephew for months. Not to mention your sister,” Christian sighed deeply before going on, “your mother too-but we could skip seeing her,” he finished with a hopeful smile.

“I can’t see my sister and not her. They live 20 minutes apart,” Aaron stated, looking up at Christian disapprovingly.

“Well. I guess if they’re that close to each other,” Christian said, hamming up his sigh.

“It won’t be that bad. You two were getting along when she visited,” Aaron pointed out with an amused smile.

“Well, she’s your family and I love you. I didn’t really have a choice. And, she has good taste in showtunes so she can’t be all bad,” Christian finished, rolling his eyes as Aaron chuckled and relaxed into his chest.

***

“Whiskeys, Jack and coke, and two red wines,” Aaron said as he put the glasses on Christian’s tray.

“Table 12, round two. I’m betting they’ll be up for at least five-they’re charging it to an expense account,” Christian joked before heading off toward table 12.

“God, I hate those tables. They never tip well enough to deal with their bull. Table 8 needs a Seven and Seven and an Old Fashion. Fast or someone is going to get slapped,” Traci said quickly glared at the table.

“Well, we wouldn’t want that would we. Might hurt your tips,” Andrew commented, smirking at Traci before asking Aaron, “you remember how to make those?”

“Whiskey and 7-up then Whiskey and bitters,” Aaron answered as he grabbed the glasses before pausing, “something goes with the bitters,” he added as he scanned the supplied trucked under the bar, pointing to the sugar as he looked at Andrew.

“And to think a month ago you knew nothing,” Andrew said, hand to his chest with a smile, “they grow up so fast,” he said with mock sadness.

“I, I had a great teacher,” Aaron said with a bashful smile, mixing up both drinks.

“Next lesson is you drinking this poison with us. We can hit the bars tonight,” Traci suggested.

“Ah, I’m not sure,-“ Aaron stammered before Andrew spoke up.

“Stop trying to corrupt him and deliver these before the ice melts. Shoo,” Andrew added, bumping shoulders with Aaron as the next round of orders came in.

***

Aaron gulped down the last of his drink as the last notes of Julie sound faded with her waving at the cheering crowd to head off stage.

Toward the VIP area-toward him.

“It’s, it’s a good song, new one? I don’t think I’ve heard it before?” Aaron said as Julie joined his table.

“Yeah, it’s something I’ve been working on. First time performing it outside the studio really. Normally I close with 3am but…”Julie trailed off for a moment before waying down a server.

“You should have sung it. It’s a good song,” Aaron said, filling in the silence.

“Are you sure? Christian still glares at me whenever I mention it,” Julie asked as the drinks came

“I know. He’s still made you just took it…but if you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here,” Aaron confessed, sipping at his drink.

“What do you mean? As in LA or…here,” Julie asked, waving her hand at Aaron.

“LA…or maybe both,” Aaron looked away for a long moment before going on, “That song is how I knew it wasn’t a bet. That Christian really loved me. If I hadn’t heard it,” Aaron shook his head, “your song is the reason I came back to LA- to Christian. Thank you,” he finished.

“I…glad you’re both happy,” Julie said with a smile, glancing back at the stage, “I could do an encore? Maybe that will make Christian finally show up,” she offered.

“Just to glare at you?” Aaron joked with a smile.

“Exactly,” Julie smirked back.

***

“I cannot believe it’s only been a year. So many things have happened, changed,” Lila said as she stood before the gravestone.

Henry’s gravestone.

“I still feel like I am in one of our movies, oh not at the heroine but there. The wise matron perhaps,” Lila said, smiling to herself as she turned toward Arson. “I really must thank you for this,” she said in thanks taking the flowers from Aaron’s hands, “I don’t think I could have done this alone,” she added, kneeling down to laid them against the gravestone.

“You could have. You’re, you’re stronger than you know,” Aaron answered as held out a hand to help her up.

“Perhaps you’re right,” Lila said as she dabbed at her eyes with a simple white handkerchief. “But all the same I’m very glad not to be standing here alone,” she said with a smile toward Aaron.

“You’re never alone Ms. M. You’ll always have us,” Christian stated as he joined them. “Good times and bad-it goes both ways,” he added, throwing an arm around Aaron.

Still smiling Lila nodded, “Thank you, thank you all,” Lila said before looking at the gravestone one more time, “perhaps the dots are all connected in the most unlikely ways,” she said, looking toward Aaron.

“Yeah. More and more I’m beginning to think they are. Everything connected,” Aaron agreed.

“One day you two are going to have to explain this joke,” Christian said as his eyes sifted between the two.

They just smiled.