We returned from Massachusetts on a private jet, instead of the commercial flight we had originally booked. Hey, that kind of money does bring on some changes even in the most level-headed people. I had asked the boys if they wanted anything, like new computers for their rooms or a new car for the older boys. They turned me down on the new car, but did agree to individual computers so they would no longer be sharing the one in the upstairs study. We therefore stopped off at one of the computer stores Brendan and I owned and paid for new equipment for the house.
As owners of the company, we could have done this before, but I didn't feel it was appropriate to just take things from the stock of the stores simply because we owned them. Brendan had agreed with me, so we had been waiting to afford them before we "tricked out the house" in his words. We had a wireless network set up in the house so we could all use our new laptops anywhere in the house or even a good distance into the yard around it, which included the barn for Edan.
Edan told me that I was in complete charge of planning our Civil Union ceremony. He told me that he didn't care where it was in Vermont, all he needed to know was what to wear when. He did stipulate that he wanted the whole family included in the plans. The Walborns, and Grandma Sarah, even Reynold and Scooter were to be there. He added that if I had to, I could even invite Janice and Beth. Naturally since he said this in front of them, there was a good fifteen minute tirade of threats from the two of them of what would happen to us if we even tried to do this without them. Edan and I were laughing the entire time.
Of course before I could get into planning my own ceremony, I found myself swamped with men. They were working on the house; get your minds out of the gutters. The kitchen was completed and work began on the new addition to the house which would contain the new bedroom and bath for Edan and I, as well as another last minute amendment to the plan. Janice and Beth asked us to include a nursery-playroom for the baby as they both demanded that we be an active part of the future little Janeth's life.
They had decided if the baby was a girl to combine their own names for her. Edan and I had tried unsuccessfully to talk them out of it. We pointed out that it sounded like someone with a lisp saying Janice's name. Janice told us that we should know about talking with a lisp. She was teasing about it, but we eventually let it drop and tried to come up with a nickname that we could call the poor child that wasn't so terrible sounding.
The situation was resolved for us when Beth went for her first sonogram. The baby was a boy. He was all boy. He had posed for the picture. Hello world, look what I've got. Janice took one look and told me it was my fault. Speaking biologically it was, but she meant the apparent attitude.
"He's going to be just as horny as your other boys," she complained.
"All boys are horny," Edan told her. "It has nothing to do with whether they're related to Cameron, even if he does add a whole new level of meaning to the word."
"Excuse me?" I cried in mock indignation. "I don't have to take this abuse."
"This from the guy whose favorite saying in high school was 'Sticks and stones break my bones, but whips and chains excite me?'" Janice blurted.
"I don't think so, woman," I corrected. "That was you."
"I didn't say I was complaining that you have a voracious sexual appetite," Edan laughed.
"Speaking of appetites, we just ate," Janice grumbled while she imitated throwing up.
"That reminds me," Beth spoke up. "I'm hungry." We all laughed as Janice slapped her own forehead.
"What do you want this time, dear?" Janice asked syrup sweetly.
"I want guacamole with sweet and sour chicken," was the answer.
"YUCK!" Edan and I groaned.
"Do you see what I have to put up with?" Janice moaned.
"Put up with?" Beth demanded. "What's that supposed to mean?"
We were awoken at three in the morning two days, or rather nights, later by someone banging loudly on the front door. I trudged downstairs from the guest room where Edan and I were staying until our new rooms were ready. The banging was getting louder.
"I'm coming," I yelled. I opened the door and found Janice standing there in just a man's pajama shirt and boxers. "You aren't going to say anything smartass about that comment I just made?" I questioned with a grin.
"She threw me out," Janice exploded in tears. "I didn't fold her socks right." I hugged my oldest and dearest friend and pulled her into the house just as the phone rang. Edan was standing next to it and answered.
"Yes, she just got here," he said into the phone. "No, she's not alright; she's crying like a baby." A minute later he exploded again. "Don't tell me you're sorry, Beth; tell her. You'll have to tell her tomorrow, though. That's right; I'm not going to let you talk to her tonight." Another pause was followed by, "I don't care that you're pregnant. Stop using that as an excuse to be mean to Janice. She loves you more than anything in this world and if you ever make her cry again, you will answer to me and then you'll have Cameron to deal with when I get done with you." He let that sink in for a minute before adding, "Sleep on that, Beth, alone. When you realize how much everyone around you cares about you and that baby, then you can come out here and apologize to all of us for ruining a good night's sleep." He hung up and walked over to Janice and actually hugged her.
"Thank you," she sniffled. "You were a little harsh, though."
"Don't make me start on you," he warned with a smile. "You're like a sister to Cameron, which makes you my family as well. Nobody messes with my family. I'll go start the coffee for you two." He turned then and went into the kitchen.
"Come on, sis," I teased. "I'll make you some cookies."
"I don't want cookies," Janice wept. "I want Beth."
"You turned down my cookies because of her?" I questioned. "That's it, she's crossed the line. Now she's going to get an earful from me. I can't kill her while she's pregnant." I would never really hurt her, but at that moment I certainly wanted to do it.
"I don't want to get you guys mad at her," Janice whimpered. "I love her so much, and she doesn't know how much she's hurting me. It's the pregnancy messing with her hormones. It's not her fault."
"Hormones are no excuse for turning you against sweets," I snapped.
"She didn't," Janice corrected. "I'm getting sympathetic symptoms of the pregnancy. I can't even look at sweets anymore. Just get me some broccoli and ranch dip."
"Pregnant women," Edan muttered, having overheard our conversation. He shook his head and announced that he was going back to bed.
Beth was at the house bright and early the next morning. She apologized profusely to all of us, but mostly to Janice. She also announced that she had taken Janice's advice finally and was hiring a partner for her law firm. She wanted to relax more and spend more time with Janice and the baby when he was born.
"You are not going to dump me for some bitch lawyer," Janice growled.
"No worries, there, my love," Beth replied. "His uncle asked me to give this guy a chance. He was working at a firm in another state, but took a case against one of the senior partner's sons. It was a gay bashing case."
"Is he gay?" I asked.
"No, he's straight, but divorced and has custody of his two children," Beth informed us. "His son recently came out, though."
"Does he have a name?" Edan asked with a smirk.
"Yes, a rather familiar one," Beth smiled. "His name is Reynold Banks."
"Wait a minute…." I began.
"Reynold Banks, II," Beth cut me off. "He was named in honor of the man who delivered him in the back seat of the car," she added. "He goes by Ray, though."
"You said he's divorced, but he has custody," Janice pointed out. "I detect issues there."
"Your occupational curiosity is correct as always, dear," Beth told her. "It's much milder than expected, though. The wife left him and the kids for the college-age tennis pro at the country club."
"He's looking for a house in this school district, Cam," Beth told me. "He has heard how well Ephraim and Peter were received by their school and feels that it would be a safe environment for Trey, his son."
"I'll ask around at the Parent Teacher Organization meetings," I promised. I then handed her the plate of leftover cookies from the early morning. "You mean Janice has been here this long and there are still cookies left?" she teased.
"She was too upset to eat them," I said bluntly.
"Oh my god, baby," Beth gasped, looking at Janice. "I hurt you that much? I swear it will never happen again. Once Ray gets here, I will be spending a lot more time at home with you. It will be just the three of us as much as possible, I promise."
"If you're going to kiss and make up, please do it now so I can watch," Daniel said with a grin as he walked in. "Two women making out, WOW!"
"Ewww, straight guys are weird," Ephraim announced from behind him. "Wait until Brooke hears what you said," he added, ducking the swat from Daniel.
"Dude, you are dead meat," Derek contributed as he walked in. "Brooke will have your head on the wall as a trophy."
"Guys, come on," Daniel begged. "I was just joking you know."
"We know, but what are little brothers for if not to torture you?" Ephraim grinned as he grabbed a cookie from the plate in front of Beth. He took off running as Daniel chased him out the door and into the yard.
"You guys are all crazy, you know that?" Janice asked with a smile.
"We know, and so do you. That's why you came here last night," Edan told her.
"You're right," she agreed. "You guys are as much family to me as my mom."
"Speaking of family," I started. "I have to get on the road. I have a breakfast meeting with Mom, Reynold, and the caterer."
"Have they decided on a date, yet?" Beth asked me.
"They finally agreed on the fourteenth," I told them.
"I thought it was going to be the twenty-first," Edan observed.
"Scooter has a mortician's convention that weekend," I reported. "He's the best man, so they had to change it again."
"That has to be a real fun time," Janice mused aloud. "New techniques in embalming….."
"Well, there went my plans for breakfast," Edan grumbled.
"Mine too," Beth gasped as she ran for the bathroom.
"Sorry," Janice grinned sheepishly.