My relationship with Jake progressed slowly. We met up after work a lot at first. We didn’t call these dates, but that’s what they were.
I also spent a lot of time helping Jake work on his house. He was good at the outside fixes, but I was much better at what needed to be done inside.
When we weren’t remodeling, Jake and I liked to take Lydia to the park. Jake really loved kids. He enjoyed playing with Lydia, and I loved watching them together.
Maybe it was seeing how he was with my daughter, or maybe it was watching him swing a hammer as he fixed up a loose shingle on his house, or maybe it was just hanging out with him, I soon figured out that I was in love with Jake.
The physical side of our relationship followed. Jake knew that I hadn’t been intimate with a man, so he didn’t push me, but eventually I knew that I wanted to be with him that way. I eventually got the shower scene I’d always wanted. And much more.
While I spent time with Jake, Becky decided that she needed to find a place of her own. She knew that I wanted to move in with Jake. She figured it was time that she and Lydia moved out of my brother’s house.
“Becky, are you sure you want to move out now? TJ and Ros don’t mind you living here. Since you work from home, you are a lot of help with Theo.” I was concerned about Becky’s move, especially when she got involved in her writing one day and forgot the waffles she’d put in the oven, starting a kitchen fire.
The damage was minimal, but what would Becky have done if either TJ or I hadn’t been there to put the fire out?
“It was one time!” Becky argued. “I got distracted once. In all of these years, I’ve never done anything like that!”
“But what about Lydia?”
“What about her?”
“Who would she stay with?” I didn’t know. It wasn’t like Becky and I were married, but I didn’t want to just give up complete custody of my daughter.
As a surprise, Jake had fixed up a room just for Lydia.
“I hope you don’t mind, GC,” he said sheepishly when he showed it to me. “I know we haven’t really talked about this, but I’d really like you to move in with me.”
The room was perfect and of course I said yes. But I knew it would be an argument with Becky when I told her about it.
In the end we worked out an agreement. Since Becky worked from home, Lydia would stay with her during the week. I would pick her up Friday night and she’d stay weekends with me. Becky would come and pick her up on Sundays.
Though Becky wasn’t exactly pleased that I was moving in with Jake, she didn’t do anything to come between us either.
Becky and Jake eventually became sort of friends. Jake was easy to like. He did his best to win her over. What did it for them, I think, was how great Jake was with Lydia. By the time it was Lydia’s 5th birthday, Becky even agreed to let Jake and I throw the birthday party.
I think another factor in Becky’s attitude toward Jake had to do with her new boyfriend. His name was Holden Wolzy, and he worked at the Newspaper. Though I thought he had a huge chin and was a bit dull, I realized that he was good for Becky. He seemed like a good person and he treated her nicely, which she deserved.
The party was a success, I thought. Jake did a good job on the cake and everyone seemed to have fun. Then, after we had cake, Jake and I made an announcement.
“We’ve decided to get married,” I informed all of our family and friends who’d gathered around.
“Since they passed the Gay Marriage law, we thought we’d go ahead and make it official,” Jake added.
At the insistence of my sister, Laura, Jake explained how I had proposed to him in the park a few days earlier. We’d taken Lydia there to play like we often did. It was my favorite place to go with Jake, so I thought it would be the perfect place.
Jake gushed as he explained how I got down on my knee and stammered out my question.
“I thought he was going to drop the ring,” Jake laughed.
“Hey, I’ve never proposed before,” I smacked his shoulder. We both laughed as everyone congratulated us. Even Becky seemed pleased.
As a birthday present for Lydia, Jake and I added a new member to our family: a kitten that we let Lydia name Kit. We also redecorated Jake’s study into a big-girl room for Lydia. Jake was the one who did most of the work. He told Lydia it was her new Fairy Princess room. He hoped it felt like she was sleeping in Fairyland.
We were really happy that Lydia seemed to like both of her gifts. It was a fear of mine that she wouldn’t understand that I was marrying Jake. Perhaps she didn’t realize anything was wrong with it because she’d never known any different.
We didn’t get married right away. Jake wanted a big wedding complete with a bachelor party beforehand. Setting that up took time. Meanwhile, I was busy with work (though not as busy as I had been when Royce was setting arson fires all over town). Jake, too, had his hands full at work. He often came home exhausted after working over time.
“It’s been an adjustment since your uncle Julian passed away. The new chief isn’t as accomplished as Chief Harold. I suppose that’s because Julian had been doing it for over 20 years. It will get better,” Jake promised me as he fell into bed and was asleep before I could even give him a kiss.
TJ was responsible for our bachelor party. I am not sure why he made us wear the stupid hats. But there was lots of nectar at the party. We even drank some of it, but mostly it ended up being shaken up and sprayed around.
I even got TJ as a punishment for the stupid hat, I suppose.
After I soaked him, though, TJ told me he had more surprises in store for us. And that’s when two police officers walked in.
“We heard about a disturbance,” they said all serious, but after a beat the two of them yanked off their uniforms and screamed, “this party is too dull! Let’s dance!”
I couldn’t believe it. Most of the people at the party were straight, but TJ bought us male strippers!
The two of them made sure to “dance” with both Jake and I, but we weren’t the only one who enjoyed them.
No one was more shocked than I was to see Alex at our party. He was still living in France with Rene. But he’d come down just to go to my wedding.
“I wouldn’t miss it, GC. I’m so happy that you’re happy,” he told me.
But I’m not sure if he really was. I saw him talking with Jake and resolved to find out what they’d discussed, but mostly Alex spent time ogling the strippers and getting drunk.
After TJ toasted Jake and I and we kissed to the raucous encouragement of all of our friends, I saw Alex hitting on pretty much any guy he saw. Someone had sprayed him with nectar and he’d stripped off all of his clothes. It was sad to see.
I finally had to get TJ to call him a cab and send him home. I didn’t know what was going on, but I would talk to Becky later and find out.
I didn’t find out until the wedding what was wrong. Alex and Rene were having problems.
“I don’t know if I’m going back to France,” Alex told me.
“It’s that bad?” I asked.
“Sometimes. But don’t let that spoil your wedding, GC. I don’t want to be a downer. It’s your day.”
“Thanks Alex. I’m glad you could come. I’m so happy!”
“I’m really happy for you GC. Honest. Sorry about how I acted the other night.”
Oh our wedding was wonderful. TJ cried, which shocked me. But I couldn’t stop grinning. I kept messing with the ring that Jake had placed on my finger and smiling as I remembered our first kiss as a married couple.
Even Alex seemed happy during the reception party. I was glad that he didn’t let whatever problems he and Rene were having affect his enjoyment of the night. He seemed genuinely happy for me. Later he even entertained everyone by playing on Jake’s piano. I was surprised that he could play. It was something I didn’t know about him.
Time passed and we decided to add to our family. I brought him a stray kitten that was hanging around the firehouse. Jake and I wanted to to make a different addition to the family, but we still hadn’t figured out exactly what we were going to do.
The new kitten Lydia named Patches. He and little kit weren’t exactly friends at first, but eventually I think they got along.
“I love the new kitten,” Jake told me, “but what about the other type of adoption we were talking about?”
“You know I’m ok with it,” I said to him, “But I think we should do the other first.”
The ‘other’ was actually having a baby together. One that shared DNA with both of us. Now, I knew that it was physically impossible, but I’d been talking to Jake about artificial insemination.
“It isn’t fair that I have a natural daughter and you don’t,” I argued. “I’d like to have a little piece of you in our child.”
“But how can we do that?” Jake was exasperated. “Are we going to ask some random woman to be a surrogate mother?”
“No. I thought I’d ask my sisters.” It was a good solution to the problem. If one of my sisters would help us, we could have a baby that was a combination of both of our genetics. My sisters were as close to me as could be since we were triplets.
“They won’t agree!” Jake threw up his hands. “GC, you’re crazy to think this is a good idea.”
“We can ask.”
I don’t know why I bothered asking Barbara and Eddie first. I suppose I should have known that they’d say no.
“I hated being pregnant,” Barbara told me. “Why can’t you just adopt a baby, GC?”
“Because I want a baby that is both of ours…one that has our DNA.”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit selfish,” Eddie asked. He was as much against the idea as his wife. He and I didn’t have the best of friendships. I shouldn’t have been surprised that he wouldn’t agree.
I let Jake do most of the talking with Laura and her husband Trevor. The two of them didn’t refuse right away like Barbara and Eddie.
“I get why you want this,” Trevor said, sympathetically. “I mean, adoption’s great, but having someone to pass your legacy to, that’s important.”
“Do you think you would be ok with Laura carrying a baby for us?” Jake asked.
“I don’t know,” Trevor answered honestly. “I suppose we’d all have to really work it out. Maybe see one of those family counselors at Laura’s hospital. It’s not an easy procedure, I’ve heard. It’s kind of painful.”
So we talked about it a lot. Laura and Trevor and Jake and I met with a fertility specialist at the hospital and talked to counselors to make sure we were all doing the right thing. In the end, Laura agreed to do it.
Laura was the perfect choice, I suppose. She was interested enough in the medical science side of what we were doing to divorce herself from the more emotional side.
“Don’t worry GC,” Laura assured me for the thousandth time. “I will be the best aunt. I know this isn’t my baby. Even Brenton, knows that I’m carrying your daughter.” Brenton was Laura and Trevor’s son, who was four. In actuality, I think he was the most comfortable with this arrangement, accepting it with the simple logic of a child.
Lydia, also, seemed to be accepting of what we were doing. She liked playing in the “baby’s room” as she called it.
“It’s your old room,” I told her.
“Yes, but the baby will sleep there.” I nodded.
Lydia’s only concern was the fact that the baby would be living with us full time and she had to go home to her mom’s every week.
“Will you love me as much when the baby comes,” she asked Jake. I was in the kitchen making a sandwich. I stilled, straining to hear his reply.
“I will always love you, Lyd. You’re my sweet girl.”
“But the baby gets to stay every day. You’ll see her more. Will you love her more because of that?”
“No! Of course not. You are here each weekend. It doesn’t matter that you’re not here during the week.”
“Ok.” Lydia didn’t sound too convinced.
“Give me a hug, Lydi-bug,” Jake said, using his nickname for her.
Back in the kitchen, I was nearly in tears. I had always wanted Lydia to stay with us full-time, but I couldn’t do that to Becky. Lydia was all Becky had. Holden, Becky’s ex-boyfriend, and she had broken up.
Jake and I were very happy when Laura went into labor. Trevor called us and we both went to the hospital to help with the delivery.
“A guy shouldn’t see his sister this way,” I joked with Laura helping her keep track of her breaths.
“Just count, GC!” she growled at me. Both Jake and Trevor were telling her to push.
She squeezed my hand and grunted, pushing our little Sasha into the world. The doctors gave the baby to Laura first. At that moment, I was most afraid that she would change her mind, but she didn’t.
“Hi,” she whispered to the little bundle. “I’m your aunt Laura. Want to meet your daddies?”
That’s when she handed the baby to me and Jake. Our daughter.