Ayden's Eyes 53
“But Spudley, you need to rest up a bit, the shop tires you out so much.”
“What? I’m hardly in it at the moment my Prince, you don’t give me much of a chance.”
“But I have to sit around waiting for you to come home, it’s boring being on my own.”
“Stiff shit my Prince. I have a business to run, paintings to do and babies to look after, so I don’t have time to sit around doing nothing. Go surfing with the guys or better still, open your own shop.”
“What do you mean by doing nothing Spudley?” He blushed.
“Well you know, don’t make me say it out loud.” Then he blushed, a great shade of red.
“Take your boy home and give him a good old fashioned whatever you both do, will you?”
“You heard me, get off my porch and go home.” They looked at each other and giggled, then ran off to their place. Tush and Bubble were all smiles.
“You two go as well, Alex and I have got this.” They looked at each other then followed the kids.
The King and Queen laughed so much their faces nearly exploded and I wasn’t far behind them because it was so fucking funny.
We three had a good talk about what had happened and the King said he was drawn to the bay, if he had his way he would move here in an instant. I watched as his eyes scanned the porch and I wondered if he has plans to renovate it, because there’s no chance of that your almighty kingship.
They decided to take a walk down to the beach so I was left alone with my son, who after he argued with Arras said that he wasn’t going anywhere with them. He nestled into my neck and I could hear his shallow breathing, then I felt sweet lips on the other side. Evan sat and took my hand, he had showered and smelt awesome so I stood and indicated to him to follow me. We put bubs down for his afternoon nap and then we made slow, quiet love in our bedroom. He was right when he said I was over analysing it, because I did get a bit of a headache thinking about what had happened. But I also felt calmness, like everything has shifted back into it's rightful place again. I tried hard to remember some things, like Donk and Kate together but they came up blank, so I accepted I couldn’t remember them being together because it hadn’t happened yet. That's if it ever happens at all.
I also had the urge to go to Springvale cemetery to place some flowers on Carol’s resting place and spoke to Evan about it. I wanted to thank her properly for saving our baby boy's life. He was all for it sometime soon, but I suppose he has to fit it into his busy surfing schedule.
Cynthia was almost living at Abs’ place and Rita's cafe was crowded mostly, she was so busy over the two to three weeks of holidays. Aisha would sometimes go into the kitchen and try to help, but the boys would shoo her out.
"We can't have our Queen soiling her hands," Tush said one day. Rita lifted her eyebrow and looked at me, after all she is our Australian Queen.
I said to her, "You know you don't have to work, but you also know the place will fall apart if you’re not around honey." I laughed as I walked back to my usual spot to paint some more.
Today I am painting my favourite subject, Evan. I had drawn him walking into the surf nude, his armour was left sitting on the golden sand and he only had a whisper of chain mail covering his upper body. I got his skin tone right and although his hair wasn't as long as his dad’s yet, it was close. It blew up in the wind making a fan type look. His buns and tiny waist were on show to all and sundry and his dimples were tight and competing with his solid thighs in an awesome performance. I sat back and sighed at the sight. Evan had opened the shop and was serving a few customers fishing rods when Ayden walked out still half asleep, he looked at me then waddled up to the kitchen.
After a few minutes I was disturbed by a little boy crying his heart out and running down for some dad cuddles.
"What's the matter baby, tell dads?"
I got a, Nanny, a naughty, an ice cream and a no, then I got a dada, Bubs needs ice cream. I suspected crocodile tears were in play here.
Rita poked her head out of the cafe and showed me two fingers indicating he's already had two ice creams. She also laid her head on her open palm indicating he was still tired, maybe he was sleepwalking?
"Bubs, dad will go get you an ice cream after you have a little nap for five minutes, okay, for me?" He looked at me with his heavy, bright blue eyes and nodded his acceptance. I covered up my work and went back through the shop to put him back to bed. I marched with my son up to our bedroom and wiped his face with a cool face washer, then we lay on the bed. He was sound asleep within seconds. It must be tough being a toddler, so much to do, so little time. I kissed his head and pulled him into me. I think I will have ten minutes myself.
He was a big boy now; he can sleep on our bed with no fears he would roll off, but Evan had placed some foam rubber on the floor beside the bed, just as a safeguard. I was looking at his perfect skin, and the closer I looked the more I saw and another idea popped into my head. I was woken by Evan who was kissing me again, and I suddenly realised bubs wasn't on the bed with me.
"Ayden, he was here with me." Evan took off looking for him, I found him in his room sitting on his potty talking to his paintings, it sounded like he was getting instructions because he started nodding his head, then he saw me.
"Hello bubs, did you go walkabout without me?"
"Okay." I checked the bowl then gently wiped his bum with a wet one.
"You're such a good boy, want a drink?"
"Yep dah." He giggled, his ice cream all forgotten.
Evan came back and he immediately relaxed when he saw us.
"It’s okay bubs, I had locked the lounge door and the back one so I knew he wouldn’t be far away; did you get him a cool drink while you were there?" He said a rude word under his breath, I just know he did.
Ayden's potty training was kept mainly to the bathroom but I had an emergency one in his bedroom. He did have accidents but that was mostly during the night. All in all, he is doing very well. Rita was the back up bum wiper, seeing he spent a lot of time in her kitchen. It's a job we all were pleased to be involved in, even Horse.
"Has he had a movement today Den?"
"Yes my friend, just now and all on his own." I passed Ayden over to him and he checked his toddler nappy then told him how clever he was.
Aisha had come up to the table and was talking to Cynthia and Abs when we emerged. Evan opened the shop and I went to get bubs a cool drink.
"Another one and on his own this time Rita."
"Very good Den, hopefully he will get the message soon enough."
"Well he did very well, he sat there and waited for me to wipe him."
I smiled at her, she had been doing the same in her bathroom.
The conversation between Aisha and Cynthia was interesting, they were talking fashion and makeup choices. Cyn was listening intently as Aisha dropped names and labels she had in her walk in wardrobe. It apparently was five huge rooms joined together.
"I still have my wedding gown Cynthia; it would fit you too."
She was baiting poor Abs.
"Oh I don't intend to get married for a while yet Aisha, but thank you for the offer." She half laughed.
"The bodice is encrusted with forty million dollars’ worth of diamonds Cyn, it's beautiful isn’t it Abs?"
"Yeah, beautiful sis." Cynthia nearly fainted.
"And you have it hanging in your wardrobe, why not a bank?"
"If you saw the security around the palace you wouldn’t worry about using a bank Cyn. But you can borrow it, or I can get Dior to make you a new one, they owe me a favour or two." She smiled.
"You could put it up for auction when the wedding’s over Cyn." That cheap shot got me a whack on the arm.
Abs pretended he wasn’t listening; he was too interested in helping Horse and Ayden with the colouring in book. Evan arrived back, he had made some more money with his customers who wanted rods and a skim board. His grin was beautiful as he ordered coffee from Bubble, then rubbed his hands together as he sat next to us.
"What's happening?" he smiled again.
"Cyn’s wedding, but I think the groom isn’t listening, or he's not interested in all that over the top, frilly stuff," Yes, another backhander from Cyn.
"Hey watch it, don't bruise the goods."
"Shut up Den, I mean it," She looked sideways at Abs.
He couldn’t hold it in any longer, he bellowed at his sister.
"Mind your own business Venetian whorehouse keeper."
"Oh sorry camel dung sweeper, I was only trying to help." She grinned.
"Well it's none of your business if I wanted to marry Cynthia."
"What?" Cyn yelped.
"Nothing, go back to your auctions, we will speak of it later when there is no interference."
The best thing Cyn could do at the moment is change the subject.
"Den, I need ten of Spud’s and another three of yours, did you check your bank?"
"No Cyn, I'll get Evan on to it tonight, why don't you want to get married Abs?"
The colouring book flew past me as I ran towards the shop. I saw him stomp down the steps and go into Spud’s place, maybe he's going to ask Hulk to be best man?
I left it for five minutes then followed him, he was sitting at a racing car machine. There was no line up today, it was a good day for surfing so the kids will be down the beach.
"Where’s Spud, Hulk?"
He rolled his eyes upwards, so I reckon they are still at it. I will go through his works and pick ten. On my way out I smiled at Abs and he grabbed my arm and said,
"I'm not ready Den, I have much important work to do for my King. I don't want Cynthia worrying every time I have to shoot off somewhere."
"Like where?" I inquired nearly laughing.
"Just somewhere, I cannot say."
"You’re scared aren’t you?" He dropped his head.
"Yes, but don't tell anyone Den, otherwise I will have you filleted in the town square."
"Ooh threats now eh?"
"Please Den, maybe just leave it to me."
"You got it my friend, mum’s the word." I smiled at him but I don't think he believed me.
Cynthia had bubs this time when I told her I would have to go through Spud’s paintings and she said the ones in the shop would do. I went off to pack them up and noticed the walls in Evan’s shop looked bare again.
Aisha and Cyn took a walk up to her house and I finally had my son to myself. I missed my knight but he had gotten busy in his shop again and Mike was now helping, I could hear his laughter.
Nothing was said after that little conversation with Abs, I guess it’s a bit embarrassing for them at the moment. At least he had bought her the engagement / friendship present from Mavis, that's a start.
I took bubs into his room, wiped him down again then I gave him some fart kisses on his neck, he was a very happy little boy, as he once again tried to rearrange my face.
"He said it, finally he said daddy." My heart leapt.
"K son." I kissed him some more.
"Den can you go get some more of Spud’s works, there’s people here to see them." I pulled out my phone and sent Spud a message.
'Sold ten, I need more urgently, like now, you have more customers." He was through the door within minutes. Ali helped him carry more paintings into the shop and I helped to hang them. The customers were very pleased they had a bigger choice.
"Get dressed in a hurry Ali?"
"Your flies undone."
He looked down and sure enough it was.
"Ring these up will you, and stop it."
"You know what."
I wasn’t doing anything, just telling Ali to dress himself. The fact that I thought I could see a rather large brown snake in his shorts meant nothing. I checked Ayden was still in front of the TV, which he was, watching his afternoon cartoon shows, then I started ringing up the tags.
We worked hard for the next couple of hours and Mike was smiling his way through it all, my fingers were sore from pushing buttons. Spud sold two paintings to the well dressed couple and I wondered if they were friends of Lindsay’s.
It died down just before four thirty. That's when people started to eat, so Mike dashed up to the cafe and donned his black apron. Ali and Spud had to go to their shop, he said something about clearing the machines and giving Hulk a break. The rest of the crowd were at the table, even Cynthia was still there.
Seeing Hulk had moved in with Jay, Abs has Tony's place to himself, although I heard him tell Tony he was thinking about moving in with Bubble and Tush. Tony nearly had a heart attack, he even offered a small discount on the rent. Abs laughed and reassured him he will stay there until Cynthia’s place is habitable. Tony and Jay had also come up for dinner, he had closed the shop for an hour; there won’t be any lookers as they would be too busy eating, and they needed a break.
It was a cool evening tonight and those clouds will drop a little rain later on, it's so nice sometimes listening to it on the roof. Dinner was heaps of lamb, yoghurt and salads to make kebabs out of, the boys and Rita have outdone themselves again. Blue slipped the tomato sauce onto the table, but no one took any. Sorry Blue, it doesn’t go with this meal. Bubs waddled out and I picked him up and fed him some of the meat and a little potato, before Blue came back and took him out of my arms.
"Sorry Den, bubs and I have a date with some real little kid food, remember?" I was being told off and everyone was looking at me, what a terrible father I am. Off they went, bubs wanted to talk about his next ride and Blue was actually answering him, I heard a lot of giggling.
"Are you going into town this weekend Donk?"
"Yes mate, I want Kate to see the painting. Is there anything you need?"
"No, it’s okay for now, I’ll do another order after the holidays."
"I have something for you Evan, well I think I do. They were offered to me yesterday and I have been meaning to ask you if you would be interested in ten brand new jet skis. The guy is going out of business and only wants this much for the lot, including the trailers. He needs to raise cash desperately so he's wanting to offload them at less than cost." She passed a piece of paper to Evan.
"What?" Just about everyone at the table said; except me.
"I'll take them Cyn, how much is your price?"
"Cost price only Evan, you and Den do enough for me already. It's time for some payback." She smiled, the magic is still with us. Evan preened like a peacock as he made up a kebab for himself and one for me. The guys were looking at him like he was about to say something important to them but he held them at bay until he was finished his meal.
"Yes you will all get a pick if you want, we will discuss the terms later."
"Not bloody likely, not with you in charge, Horse borrow Blue’s," Tony said laughing.
Horse looked sad, I suppose he would’ve liked a shiny new jet ski.
Crash, bang, boom I heard coming from the other end of the porch. I looked up and there was Ayden dragging one of Rita's chairs down to us. I think he liked that one but it got stuck several times on the way. Alex caught up with him and threw him under one arm then brought him and the chair to the table.
He plonked Ayden on it and said,
"Stay there sunshine."
"Oh?" was my boy’s answer.
"Do you like that chair bubs?" I made conversation.
"Dah, good," he giggled then manoeuvred himself onto the floor again and went to get another one. Why take one when you can have two or three?
I grabbed him and kissed his neck, blowing farts galore, this will get his mind off his fascination with chairs.
The guys wanted to go next door for some gaming time, so after cleaning up the table, we all converged on Spud’s place.
Bubs was taken on the surf ride with Evan while I stood watching some older kids act like teenagers.
"Where’s Spud, Hulk?" I asked, his eyes again raised to the ceiling.
Bubs was chuckling away as his dad moved from side to side, trying not to wipe out. But it got the better of him and he started laughing and lost his concentration, the big wipe out sign came on. Of course he wanted more and he didn't care with who, so Evan placed him on Trip’s shoulders, he was racing cars.
Spud didn't close the parlour until nine when and my boys were just getting fired up.
"It's my machine little boy," Tiny said as he walked up to yet another game.
"It’s mine, I am the one with the top score so I get first choice, it’s the rules," he chided Tiny.
"Okay it's yours then, don't get your knickers in a knot."
"What's that mean mister Tiny?"
"It means that you will only be top scorer until I start to play. I am the champion player of this game." Tiny puffed his chest out to the pint sized kid.
"Oh mister Tiny, I don't see your name anywhere on the scoreboard." He grinned.
"Not yet, but as soon as you finish and I have my turn, I'm going to blast you off that list.
"Bring it on." The kid’s fists were at the ready.
Tiny chuckled as he then tried to help Trip with his surfing game, but all he got there was a curt, ‘piss off.’ He then went behind the change booth and got a milkshake token and gave it to the kid.
I took bubs, who was now very tired home to his bed. The King and Queen were having a last drink so I said goodnight to them and headed for Ayden's room.
He was asleep as soon as I pulled his sheet up over him, kissing him goodnight, I then slipped under the shower. Two big arms surrounded me as I washed my hair. We made love to each other and I felt the house relax, by the look on Evan’s face, he felt it too.
Aisha and I took lunch down the next day and bubs was raring to go swimming, and he did with a lot of help from his friends.
He came back exhausted and I was a bit tired after eating, so I tied the twine around us and rested bub’s head on my chest, we’ll both have forty winks.
When I woke up Evan was sleeping next to us, and bubs had moved over to his arms. I took in every breath as my tummy lit up as I noticed Arras walking over with Aisha, they had been for a swim. They grabbed a towel each and I think they were up to no good in that water, because she looked awfully flushed and Arras was prancing like he had just won a million dollars.
"You dirty buggers," I heard coming from Evan’s lips.
They looked at each other and started laughing.
"Sprung my King, the infidel was playing possum."
"Looks like it my Queen."
They laid their towels down on the sand and sat looking out at the ocean.
"It's so beautiful here Den, we don't really want to go home," Arras said.
"Then don't go, stay here with us. I presume you have thousands of accountants and advisers to look after your businesses, you could do it by phone or internet."
"Unfortunately that doesn’t work Den, I have state dinners, royal visitors and a heap of other rubbish I have to deal with. This just doesn’t happen in my world."
"Abdicate then, let your oldest son take over," Evan suggested.
"Umm, what do you think my bride?"
"A mansion would look good on that hillside husband."
"Don't you be going spoiling the bay you two, there is enough building going on here already; rent Tony's place or buy a block of land off me," Evan said without opening his beautiful eyes.
"But where will I stable my harem?"
"Ha ha, as if, dream on Arras." Evan laughed.
It would be good to have all my Kings, Queens and Princes in the one spot, but I understand abdication is something that needs to be discussed thoroughly. Although Arras wasn’t a major player he was still a King, a minor one granted, but a King none the less.
"We have to go back soon, but rest assured Den and Evan we will be back, we can schedule meetings and state visits around a holiday or two. The main thing is that Ali and Spud are safe, and all you guys too."
"Well, we will all be fine; our secret weapons will see to that." Evan’s thumb pointed to Ayden, then me.
"Yes we know Evan, I am going to install ten extra men in Longford, or here maybe, and before you say anything, hear me out first."
"They will all be gay. I have no problems believing Ali is protected here, that's a given, but I have loyal men that I need to protect also. The ten are part of my secret elite squad, they have done so much for my country and this is the only way I can repay them." He moved to face us.
"Complete safety, that is why I met with your government. I need to get some of my men as far away from the Arab states as possible. Hide them away but they will still be paid by me. I would like to think in the future they will be adventurous and will integrate into the Melbourne gay scene. Your government; with some sweeteners from me will allow that to happen, they will land with Australian passports and a history of being here since birth. If this works, next year I will send more."
"My god, that's so wonderful Arras. I have heard about some dreadful atrocities against gay men going on."
"All true Den, and I want to do my bit by trying to save as many of my men as I can. They volunteer for my special protection team; they know I will treat them well. If I hear of any potential candidate, especially if they are gay, I hire them and in return I protect them. But they can't come home, they would be in dire peril from their own people." What a wonderful human being.
"I see what you mean, it’s a great leader that recognises the faults in others and protects his household," I offhandedly said.
"It is Den, and Arras is a great leader, it’s a shame others don't see it that way," Aisha said.
"Well I would love to play happy families with you all, but I have a shop to open." Evan jumped up and brushed the sand off his body, I bet it’s just about ready to be lotioned up too!
"Can you bring bubs up when he's awake, it’s nearly his lunch time?" I asked my friends.
"For sure Den, leave him with us."
Of course Ayden wasn’t having any of that nonsense, the little trickster was just dozing.
"Dad, bubs, nanny hungry, up dah." He started to stand up.
"Maybe not, I better feed him, sorry." I smiled at them, they looked disappointed.
Evan piggy backed him while I carried his board and the towels and noticed the sky was turning black again, so it looks like we are going to get another spring storm. Ayden wanted to shower with his dads so we took him inside where the water is warmer. I must get to connecting the hot water to the outside connection, the boys would appreciate it in winter.
We dried him and lotioned him up a little, then I took him to his bedroom and dressed him while Evan organized coffee and a bit of a snack.
The wind had picked up and I could hear the surf getting stronger, but Evan stuck to the rules and opened the shop. Mike appeared to see if we needed a hand, but he wasn't required this afternoon so he sat with us and had a milkshake and a hamburger.
"So the scholarship you won Mike, will that be enough to get you through to medical school?" I was curious.
"No Den, not by a long shot, I will probably have to get a job to see me through that."
"I wouldn’t worry Mike, there’s plenty of people here that will keep you going," Evan offered.
"Well with little Emma coming along, mum and dad don’t have much left from his pay, so it’s going to be a hard slog for them." He looked pensive.
"Don’t stress about it, if it comes to money Evan and I will sponsor you, and you know there’s plenty of work down here."
"I couldn’t let you do that Den; you have done so much for us as it is. Just gran moving around better is amazing in itself, and you did that for her, thank you."
"Well we are your back up people so if you need anything Mike, we love you and your family and are keen to help."
"He probably won’t need it Den," I heard coming from behind me, Mavis had walked in through the shop.
"Well Mavis, the offer’s there if you need it."
"I haven’t told Mike about the vases, only the circus stuff. Cynthia is selling my mum’s vases on her site and she’s going to do very well too Mike, so don’t stress about money. I will fund your college."
"Oh gran, I can't let you sell your beautiful things, you have to keep them, they are your memories." Mike was a little upset.
"My beautiful grandson, there’s nothing on this earth I would not do for you. Memories are in the mind and the things I'm selling are just things," He went quiet, I think he was a bit overwhelmed.
"What does Jack do Mavis, I mean for a job?" I didn’t have a clue what he did, mostly because I hadn’t asked.
"He owns a small joinery, a cabinet making store and makes kitchens and bathroom cupboards. He’s very meticulous so it’s a shame his customers only want the cheap stuff. His work is very much like Tony's in a way, some of his hand made cabinets are pure art. I should get you to put a rider on your board for him, you never know, magic and all." She winked at me.
I thought to myself, ‘yes, you never know about the magic and you are right.’ I had another thought I might run past Horse and Tony.
Mike took off after he got a message from Ali, he headed towards the fun parlour, I presumed they are at it again. Minutes later I saw Hulk head for home just as Jay ran out of Tony's shop. I suppose it’s that time of day again. I chuckled to myself.
Mavis sat with us and we talked more about Mike’s future, she had it all organized but did worry about Jack and Anne. I asked her where Anne got the money from to buy the painting and she said off her, she had a little to spare. My heart sank a bit because it shouldn’t have happened.
I told her I was going to ask Horse to put Jack’s business on his books. "You never know; he might pick up some extra work. Maybe when Evan and I go to Melbourne to visit Carol and his mum, we might have time to swing by and have a look, maybe take some photos."
The dinner was awesome, Aisha, Arras and Ali hugged all night and were leaving in the morning. Everyone was a little down because we all loved them and wanted them to stay. He had to go to the States to discuss oil prices with the president’s aides. He said he was tired of traipsing around the world and wanted to stay here, but it’s his job. I had found out from Ali that his eldest brother is the next in line. He was the crown prince and he ruled under Arras, so while he was with us, his brother ruled the minor kingdom.
"My father was westernised before he came to the throne so many of his family love him but want him to abdicate in favour of my brother. He refused to be schooled out of his homeland. He is much more suited to the job and he does hold my father’s values on certain subjects. All my brothers love me as I love them." He smiled at me.
"He will make a great King, just like his father, but he can't make a move without the council’s approval. I think father will abdicate because he knows he will be leaving the family business in good hands."
"Well I hope he comes to live with us here, he will be protected Ali."
"He and my mother have already discussed that at length. She is tired of always bowing to the government and needs to breathe a little. It’s very intense at the palace and she’s been branded an outsider; my father tries to protect her from the extreme left who wanted him to marry a more suitable woman from a Muslim family."
"Your mum’s not Muslim?"
"She is now, she converted for my father but she was from a Bedouin royal family, they are more relaxed about such things."
"So she's not liked in your country, that's hard to believe."
"Yes and no, they love her when she's on tour, she always dresses and acts like a Queen should; even in the background. But they are disturbed by her nightly walks in the markets and her need to visit the poor areas and hand out money and food. The council are very controlling Den."
That's so sad for them, so much in love and hobbled at every turn.
"When my mother goes to America she will be photographed with a scarf over her face, that's the way it is. The press scream for a face photo constantly." Why would they try and hide such a beautiful face, she's their greatest asset and they want to hide her away, that's just plain silly. But I learned long ago that not every human thinks alike, every language has its own meaning and every country is ruled differently, and if you throw religion into the mix, very strange habits form.
I had an image I wanted to paint of Aisha and Arras on the beach in swimwear, but I thought if it got to the press it would reflect badly for them. I might just do it as a one off and give it to Ali. He will hang it somewhere safe.
The next morning there were plenty of hugs and kisses and I hugged Arras and whispered, "Come back soon my friend." He nodded to me and I saw hope in his eyes.
Aisha looked a million dollars in a Chanel pant suit, she had a small hat on with a scarf she could pull over her lower face when necessary. She whispered to me,
"I am now invisible again, but hopefully that will change soon." She smiled and I thanked her and kissed her cheek. I somehow knew they would be back.
Ayden was pink all over from his many farewell kisses, we followed on foot. The King and Queen were driven to the local football oval to be shuttled by two helicopters to Tullamarine airport where their official plane was waiting to whisk them off to America. Ali and Spud said their final farewells and we waved as they took off. Ayden clapped, I had put his earplugs in to stop some of the noise, but I think he wanted a ride.