Ayden and Birdy were playing cars on the porch when I walked out. Aisha had outdone herself today because the table shimmered with silver cutlery, crystal glasses and the most beautiful bowls of flowers you could imagine. Crisp white tablecloths adorned the two tables and a long string of fairy lights lay scattered among the assorted silver and condiment dishes. It was magical and so elegant.
She had placed herself and Arras at the head of the table and next were Rita, Evan and I. Birdie, Ali, Spud, Hulk and Jay were at the other end she said she wanted to gaze upon her many sons while she dined, Birdy's face lit up and it didn't die down all night. Kate and Donk arrived, he had dressed for the evening, nothing posh just a shirt and nice shorts and she looked stunning, in this light she's definitely a butterfly tonight. They kissed and cuddled all night and sometimes she would giggle when he whispered in her ear, I think they are finally there at last. Tiny, Trip, Mel and Nuts were also dressed a little better and Jack and Anne did the same. It was nice to see them all in their best clothes. Horse and Tony wore dinner suits, they thought they would go all out and Horse looked like he owned the table he looked so handsome. But the best of all is I convinced Evan to wear his old work suit so I found it hard not to touch him up all night.
I had placed the finished painting on an easel and the first thing Cyn did was to unveil it, mostly there was silence but I got a few gasps. She insisted she sit so she could see it all night so with a little effort Tiny and Nuts moved up. I thought she might just bite them if they didn't.
I had done an all nighter last night when the urge finally hit me. Evan had slept on the sofa out the back, there was no need for him to watch me as he knew it wasn't like before. He trusted my fairy folk to look after me and when I came out of my trance I felt refreshed like I had slept comfortably all night. We only took a few minutes to check it out then I covered her and took my man to his bed. He didn't scream, rather we both wept with joy as I made my special kind of love to him, it was done with love, not need. But the next one in the bathroom was what I needed urgently, he did scream then. Ayden was waiting on our bed when we finished showering, he had already started his jumping up and down and was wanting his morning kisses quickly because he had to go see Blue about something.
We did the kissing and hugging but I kept him longer so he got mad and I laughed as he stormed out to see his mate.
Evan was slipping into his surfing uniform; we were both spent but I did have to have a good feel of his goods as I helped him push them into his tight suit.
Back to reality and Arras made a toast to Aisha who looked stunning, she would look stunning in an old hessian bag that woman.
We lifted our champagne and toasted them both. The four boys looked after the kitchen and Rita's was a bit busy, but they coped. The food looked wonderful, there were five platters of seafood, some salads and a big platter of steak and vegetables. Everyone was catered for and my mouth watered because I badly wanted one of those juicy steaks.
Evan had the seafood and last I saw he was breaking open a whole lobster, he gave some to Ayden who liked it but he liked his mashed potatoes and steak better. I had cut it up into tiny pieces for him and he smiled broadly as he ate.
Tush cleared the table but left two platters of leftovers in the middle of it just in case people wanted to graze.
He then brought out another platter of silver covered boxes, one was placed in front of each of us. They were presents from Aisha and Arras to celebrate their anniversary night.
The ladies received a pair of diamond encrusted stud earrings each and the guys got single surfboard studs that were also encrusted with shiny stones, they were beautiful. I got a flash from my son, it was a smiling Barney with some huge hoop earrings on. I laughed so he then sent me one of his ear with the earring on.
"No way, not until you grow some more." He stared at me again.
"He can get his ear pierced Den, a lot of kids do that nowadays, I did Ali's when he was a baby," Aisha said. Ayden was now her best friend and ally.
I looked at Blue who was grinning from ear to ear.
"Just because you have one doesn’t mean he has to get one too."
"I can do it now Rita, have you got a darning needle and cotton?" Blue asked.
"You will do no such thing Blue. If he has to have one he's going into the surgery to have it done properly," Tiny has spoken.
"It hurts bubby; you won’t sleep for a month with the pain." He stared at his lying father again.
"Okay then you win, Evan you do it. I can't stand to see him suffer, I went through his baby needles."
"Then we will have a father and son piercing day thank you doctor Tiny," Evan said.
I screamed at him.
"Don't you even think about it Mr. Evan Spicer." He dropped his lip.
"Okay a family of three Mr. Tiny, any other takers?"
I relented because when I looked at my man’s ear, I thought it would look good with a stud in, lawyer or not, it kind of turned me on.
With that all organized we proceeded to have a great night. Ayden was excited to get his ear done and Birdy wanted to come with us but Jay insisted he wait until he's older.
There was dancing, drinking and generally Horse horsed around, it was his night to get drunk. Tony took him home around eleven and I had put Ayden to bed at ten, he was dog tired by then because the girls had him up dancing most of the time.
Evan and I crawled into bed about twelve and Rita and Aisha were the ones to lock up.
There was no knock on the window the next morning, everyone had slept in. The only ones that were on board when I went for coffee were the four boys, they seemed okay.
I sat watching the kids come over for their morning drinks and chips then some tourists pulled up and wanted to see the shop. I let them in and sat behind the counter while they bought some of the new clothes and Cody's stuff too. The seven frames that were still in the car were bought and I replenished the walls. Spud’s paintings were down to two so I will message him to bring more.
When they left I locked up and went back to flipping through my sketchbook. Nothing inspired me at all and I wondered if I would ever paint what I had drawn into it. I probably needed something else to do, but for now I will paint and sign some more T-shirts for Jack’s frames. I let Evan sleep until noon but bubs got up around ten and after his juice and sloppy oats he wanted the big TV on. He sat outside with me and watched that from the table. I could hear cartoons in the background and every now and then he would sing along to the music, he had a good voice.
Horse came by and he looked a little sheepish.
"Did you sleep well?"
"Yes Den, I didn't hear anything during the night."
"Good." Ayden was making his way around to his lap and I made him a coffee. He flopped his head back and sighed,
"What's the matter?"
"Nothing Den, I'm just waiting for Evan, I need a surf to clear my head."
"Did you have too much last night?" I giggled to myself.
"Yes and you know I did."
"Oh okay, you were fine, there were no dramas."
"Good, I couldn't remember." He laughed.
"Everything was fine Horse, you had a lot of fun."
He kissed Ayden who was staring at the TV and said,
"Tell Evan I will see him down the beach." He then placed bub on the seat next to him and scooted off.
I didn't see him upset anyone last night, everyone was in good spirits and the fact he and Arras had a slow dance didn't phase anyone.
Cyn arrived next and she wanted to talk about the two paintings. It was a big night last night and I detected no one talked business.
"Now can I take a few photos Den; the ones I have aren’t good enough?" She had a professional camera over her shoulder so I went to get them. I placed one on the easel and she took a dozen then the other one was displayed in its spot.
"I will start the auction at two million Den, we won’t take a penny less. I think I will put them on for four weeks, that will give everybody a chance to think about them."
"Good Cyn, I hope they go to a good home, she deserves that."
"I'm sure she will Den but let’s just wait and see. I doubt very much she will be hidden away and forgotten."
"Do you think a dealer will buy them?"
"Maybe Den, they could sell them on, or keep them for an investment, it happens a lot in the art world."
"Thanks Cyn, I would have loved to have kept them but I have too many stored away as it is."
"Well they are beautiful Den, I would have loved her on my walls too, but business is business." She smiled.
For some reason I was a little uneasy when she left, I was missing something but couldn’t put my finger on it. Anyhow, I lost those thoughts when Evan finally surfaced.
"Good morning bub, did you sleep well?"
"Yes Den." He kissed me then a non-interested Ayden.
I went to get a fresh pot of coffee and a cup. Rita then surfaced and was chopping away at some carrots and looked refreshed.
"Good morning Den, is Ayden with you?"
"Yes honey, he's watching TV on the porch."
"Well send him up, I’ve got some food for him."
I walked the tray back and shook Ayden.
"Nanny wants to see you." He jumped up and ran into the cafe.
"I opened earlier because you had some customers, the money’s in the register."
"Good Den, thank you for that."
"We are down to the last half dozen boxes, did you do the big order for Darrel Jones?
'Yes plus two containers for Cody and another two for here, I've got, ‘Surf's Up,’ stuff arriving to day but I probably won’t get Cody's stuff, I ordered off him until next week."
"So you’re organised then?"
"Yes Den, it’s only a matter of emailing the orders off to the agent, he will do the rest." He smiled at me.
Christmas is ten days away and I almost have everything done except Evan’s gift, but I think I have an idea and will run it past Rita when I get the chance.
"Kate was having fun last night bub, I'm glad she's starting to relax a bit."
"Yes she was telling me about Aisha's offer, it sounds like a good deal Den. I hope her store can handle a truckload of handbags." He laughed.
"She's got plenty of room out the back, the bay is becoming a dumping spot for containers bub."
"Well Tony can use them, I'll get the truck in tomorrow to shift ours over onto his property."
"Good, we will need the room."
"Den, what do you really want for Christmas?"
"Good will to all men bub."
"Okay I can try but I can't guarantee it."
"You can start with me." I took his hand and walked him out to our bedroom, I think he got my point.
He was dressing in his wet suit when Ayden arrived, he stood there staring at his pa who was teasing him and trying to ignore him. You don't ignore our son for more than a minute otherwise.
"PAAA!!!!" I jumped, Evan spun around, Ayden was screaming and we had to listen.
"Blue waits me."
"Oh he's waiting for you is he, well we had better put your suit on then." He didn't need another invitation and ran to his room.
While I dressed him Evan finished himself off and took some towels as he walked out. He was heading for the boards when my boy banged the door open and ran down the back stairs.
I always leave a stack of clean beach towels outside the back door because the boys use them too, and we get so many of them for presents they have to be used for something. Ayden had knocked them over so I started stacking them up again, seems I’ve become a cleaner and all round lackey.
I started stripping the beds and will throw everything in the wash when I'm done. I then brought the Christmas gifts up from the car and started wrapping them with Evan’s wrap from the shop. As I finished I wrote on the card and placed the gift under our tree. I noticed a present that sort of shone but there was no card with it, I felt it was for Ayden.
I opened the shop as there were more people sitting at our table waiting to get in. Last minute presents were bought and wrapped and Mike ran up to give me a hand, he was better selling the wet suits and rods than me.
I locked up and sat with my son just people watching, he had gone to sleep in my arms as I rocked him. The traffic had settled down and it was only those three days the street was closed, but it was a good idea, I will bring it up with Tiny when I see him next.
I heard a noise coming from the café where the boys had turned the music up and were dancing out on the porch, I suppose everyone’s in the Christmas mood. I don't know how they will celebrate Christmas but I did hope they would do it with us. Religion or not, it's a great family day too.
Ayden stirred and his eyes opened, he saw me and smiled then went back for another ten minutes. I started drawing on my pad, just doodling then I thought I might slip Ayden onto his bean bag and go clean the shop. I moved him over then opened the shop but found Evan and Trip already in there cleaning.
"Hi bubs, did you sneak in?"
"No Den, I saw you were busy so I didn’t want to disturb you."
"Trip, I think Rita has someone chasing a maintenance man, something about a hot water heater."
"Thanks Den, Evan will you be okay here for awhile?"
"Yes mate, go see what she wants."
I started folding stuff up and placing it back where it belongs.
"That big carton of returns bub, are you going to sell it off cheap?"
"Yes Den, I thought I would put it on the porch and give it away for free."
"Good idea, that will get it shifted quickly, do you want me to do that now?"
"If you would Den, there’s money in the register, did you open earlier?"
"Yes Mike and I opened, we had customers waiting."
"Thank you." He bent over and kissed me.
I shifted the big carton out to the porch in front of the stairs and wrote free factory seconds on it and by the time he had locked up that night it was empty.
"So that’s it bub, no more stock in storage again." I smiled at him.
"Yes that's it Den and I can't wait to get the next container. Surf’s Up have an order and it should be here anytime, Cody's will turn up but I don't know when. I told them both it wasn't urgent, I think I would like to just enjoy the last few days before Christmas this year. I have made some serious money Den."
"Oh how much bub?"
"Enough to pay cash for those five holiday houses and a whole lot left to splash out on the renovations."
"Fuck that's a lot, don't forget to transfer my share over, and while you’re at it you should be charging Ayden too. He is a third partner in the venture and should be paying."
"I can’t charge my three-year-old Den, and the houses are a Christmas present for you and him from me."
"Oh no they are not bub, I will get onto the accountant and get the money transferred, that will mean you will have a shit load more to stash away. Ayden pays, he's got oodles in the bank as you well know, it's and investment for him and he will thank you in twenty years when they are worth a shit load more."
"Okay Den, whatever you think is a fair thing but now I have to buy you a present."
"I told you what I wanted and that's it, no fancy presents, they just sit in the drawer unused. Now I can use your body a couple of times, that's the only present I want." He looked me in the eyes.
"Me to Den, that's all I want." A deep kiss followed.
When we parted I noticed Ayden was wobbling up to the cafe, he must be hungry. We ordered coffee and sat at the table.
"Now write down your total outlay and divide it by three." I handed him the sketchbook. He did what he was told and I divided it by three.
"If you get the accountant to transfer the money over we will be square."
"Okay Den if you are really sure?"
"Yes I am and when the renovations start it will be the same."
"Now what do I do with all this extra money?" I smiled at him and answered,
"I'm sure you will think of something."
"I've worded Tony up on designing the renovations and he said he would start after New Year. I want them to be like his, high end."
"So do I," I agreed with him.
"Do you think Rita will buy some, there’s plenty for sale in Longford too?"
"She mentioned it, she may buy a couple and do the same. She really has to offload some money Den; she's been stashing everything away in her safe. The only thing she's bought was Riley's house and that wasn't much."
"Well I'll give her a push in the right direction, maybe if you show her what you spent she might understand it better on paper."
"I will do that Den, but after the new year, I just want to relax for now."
Evan’s famous last words, as an hour later a delivery from Cody arrived. Three pallets of discontinued lines, the girls are going to have a field day with the lady’s frocks.
We managed to get it all unpacked and stacked in the lounge room and Evan started to fill the empty shelves as Aisha helped do the ladies. She was putting aside some frocks and had quite a stack. She had all the nicer looking ones aside so the girls could go through them later. She has good taste but she did leave some for the shoppers.
The shop looked a bit healthier and by the time Mel arrived Evan had opened. Rita was busy but she found two minutes to try on some dresses, she took two. Alex was also busy with the stays which were all booked out long ago for Christmas. Rita's sign read closed Christmas day, but she will organize something for the travellers in the stays, she won’t see them miss out, not on Christmas day anyway.
Our Christmas was planned to be held on the porch as it was done the two previous years. I had considered Ali's offer to use his backyard but we thought we would stick to our little tradition and not haul everything over there, it's a lot easier to organize from the cafe kitchen.
Rita and Aisha went shopping a few days prior and came back with a boot load of bags. The presents under our tree grew to a mammoth amount. Everyone was coming so we planned on putting two of Rita's tables up against mine. The holly and bud lighting was draped over the balustrade a week ago and Ayden had hours of fun talking to the blinking lights.
He screamed at someone in the cafe and we heard,
"Okay if you want one you have to eat it all."
He ran down to us and took his place at the table, his smile was huge. Alex brought down one of Rita's super dooper hamburgers and plopped it in front of him.
"Now eat it all up bubs." He grinned at me as Ayden looked at the burger intensely, I think he was trying to work out how best to tackle it and eventually most of the salad was taken out and he was left with just the burger and the buns, that fit his mouth nicely. He munched his way through it and on the many occasions I was looking at him, he was smiling.
He was done with it half way through so pushed it over to me to finish, which I did, I was hungry too. Good old reliable daddy I am.
He took the empty plate back to the kitchen and there was a war on words going on then he stormed out. Alex popped his head out and gave me the WTF look. I smiled back and said,
"He's a big boy now," then I laughed. I will tell Alex later I don't want Ayden wasting food, just the bun and hamburger with sauce will do in the future, otherwise I will get fat.
Everyone came around Christmas eve, Rita was busy and presents were left under the tree. Ayden was very excited and kept babbling on about his king all night. I hope he gets some sleep because I know I won’t, my big present starts as soon as I hit the sack.
"Did you put the paintings on Cyn?"
"Yes Den, there’s already ten bids."
"God, what’s it up to?"
"Three mil Den and rising." She smiled but I nearly fainted.
Evan had got into Tony's ear about the renovations and what he wanted to do but Tony wasn’t listening because he knows what to do already.
Donk and Kate turned up with Jack and Anne with Emma and Mavis in tow. They won’t be here tomorrow because Anne wanted to have a family do at their new place. Mike will pop in but he is going to stay at home for the festivities. They were loaded up with a couple of big garbage bags of presents to take home and put under their trees. Kate got to try on some frocks and took two of them. Evan said they were Christmas presents she didn't have to shop for elsewhere so they all got them free. The gentle breeze cooled us and the music lulled us into the Christmas spirit. Blue had made egg nog and there were nibbles by the bucket load coming out.
Music played and some of the backpackers joined in with our crowd. It was magic holding Evan’s hand and kissing it occasionally, I was excited to get to bed.
Horse held Ayden and Arras kept wanting to nurse him too, but eventually he went to sleep so no one could fight over him. I took him to bed then said my goodnights to everyone. After stripping down I lay on the bed a display that Evan couldn’t refuse when he came in. I collected my Christmas presents twice, but he was too fucked to go on so we held each other close and went to sleep around midnight.
In the morning Ayden was racing around looking for something, he had used his potty and I grabbed him to give him a wash.
"What are you looking for bub?"
"Oh sometink, like something what?"
"Sometink." He's not telling me today but I can make a good guess what it is.
He settled down and after his wash ran up to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and collected a few hugs and kisses on the way.
I needed coffee as Evan showered. I think he expects a re-run this morning, no he's going to get a re-run. I lost the coffee thought and moved into the shower behind him, slipping him a very happy looking dick in the process.
He moaned and groaned all the way through it then I had to wash his bits and pieces after I dried him. I think he was happy, he sure smiled a lot.
Now for the coffee, we not only got that but also a big platter of toast, bacon and eggs to share with Horse, Nuts, Tiny and Donk, who was on board today.
"You're up early Donk, did Kate kick you out of bed?"
"She had to Den, I was going for number three but she wanted to help Anne set up for today, so I came here for breakfast."
"How's it really going Donk?" I asked.
"Better than ever, she's so relaxed and over the moon with her Christmas sales, also me bringing in more money helps, I've never worked so hard."
"She's worth it Donk."
"She sure is, I see her for what she is now Den, a beautiful soul who only wants the best for our marriage. I kind of like it that way too now." He grinned.
I asked Tiny about blocking off the street and he said that his brother in law is going to talk to the council about installing some speed humps and lowering the speed limit on our road. It would be good to slow the traffic down some.
I felt a hand go in mine and Birdy was lifted up onto my knees, he's putting on weight and getting taller.
"Good morning my friend, did you sleep well?"
"Yes poppa Den, when's Santa coming?"
"Soon kiddo, did you have Santa with your family when you were at home?"
"I don't think so poppa, but I did get some presents, I remember."
"Good, and there are plenty more under the tree for you today but we have to wait for Rita and the boys to come up before we start."
He hugged me and I hugged him back then he went up to the cafe and sat at the table outside the door. He was watching them maybe because he was excited to start opening his presents.
Rita came out and sang out Merry Christmas, give me five minutes. She took Birdy’s hand and led him into the cafe.
I think she's feeding him.
After ten minutes of Ayden jumping up and down Horse got ready. He’s playing Santa this year and as Holly and Peter arrived and hugged everyone he was all good to go.
He had put on a Santa hat with a bell that lit up and Ayden wanted it, but horse was ahead of him and placed a spare one on his head, I took many photos, it was cute.
It turned out to be a beautiful, still day with millions of fairy lights blinking everywhere on the porch, not that you could see them but occasionally a cloud would come over and they twinkled. The ones on the tree certainly did because my lounge room didn't get much light in it. Aisha and Arras were excited to get the show on the road as they shooed the kids inside. She and Rita had the boys cook a special authentic Australian banquet, ham, pork, roast beef all the main dishes and some eastern ones, because the boys would be certainly eating with us.
The cafe was locked and the rest of our family found chairs and cushions to sit on while Horse did his thing. Birdy was staring at him; I suppose this will be his first Christmas. Jay and Hulk made sure he knew what was happening and his smile nearly bought tears to my eyes.
Horse started giving out the gifts and the pile was enormous so we had placed two big rubbish bins to put the used wrapping paper in in my small kitchen. Ayden was jumping up and down with Holly and Peter who have grown quite big, I haven’t seen them for ages.
"To Rita from Alex and Blue." She was the first cab off the rank and bubs wanted to help her unwrap it. She received a beautiful antique mirror with matching crystal jars for her night stand.
And the show went on for quite awhile before Ayden's name was first called. He opens his own presents now and loved his new wet suit from Donk and Kate, and of course had to try it on. While Evan was helping him with that his name was called again, so with no knickers or shirt, he ran in his birthday suit to get his next brightly coloured parcel. As I said earlier, my kid’s got no shame.
My pile of gifts grew faster than I could unwrap them because I had to look at every one Ayden got first. Rita finally got her pearl strand from us, she shook her head and tut tutted us for spending so much money on her. She in turn gave us some serious looking Tag Heuer watches and Evan was happy because they were waterproofed for deep sea diving. He was always buying cheap ones because he kept forgetting to take them off when he surfed. Aisha gave Kate a pair of emerald earrings and I noticed the rest of the girls got the same gift, Rita's were bigger of course.
There were also heaps of presents for the kitchen boys to open, they were humbled. But Bubble and Tush were laughing themselves silly at their new stretch sequinned shorts from Mavis. I noticed Aisha and Arras' present to all four of them were envelopes with cheques in them. They nearly cried when they opened them, they must have been quite hefty. Rita gave them some aftershave and some lovely gold chains and we had bought them the gold discs to hang off them, they were their birth images.
Birdy I think topped the list of having received the most gifts, he was swimming in them and just didn’t know which one to open first, so he left them in a stack and smiled. He spoke to Jay about them and in his confusion he suddenly had a bright idea.
He would read the cards then go to the person and get them to help him open it. He would then give them a big hug and a kiss then move onto the next. This was going to take some time I think.
He got to us and I helped him open his electric ride on scooter. He jumped for joy and thanked his poppas Den and Evan then gave Ayden a kiss. He can move from building to building much faster now.
The present I didn’t expect came from Evan and Ayden, a beautiful set of paint brushes and some awesome paint I had admired in the art shop. They were new colours and ones I hadn’t worked with before. I thanked him then gave him his present and he blushed when he looked in the bag, we will get to that later.
Ayden seemed a little distracted about something, his face had dropped as he searched for something among the gift paper. Then he looked under the tree, well he actually crawled around under it, but I didn't expect his reaction and it was heartbreaking.
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