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With this Ring
Chapter Three

AJ sighed and pressed his lips against the warm skin he was laying on.

Warm skin... brown eyes popped open, a tattooed arm was hurriedly used to push himself up. He blinked rapidly down at the man he had been laying on only to find blue eyes looking back at him out of a smiling face.

"Good morning," Brian said softly.

"Morning?" AJ said in sleepy confusion while trying to figure out what was going on.

Brian grabbed AJ's free hand and tugged AJ back down on top of him. AJ sighed and rested his head on Brian's shoulder as the events of the previous night caught up to him.

"Did we?" AJ asked softly while trailing his fingers down Brian's bare chest.

Brian caught AJ's hand as it wandered too low and dragged it back up, "Yes we did." He lifted AJ's hand to kiss the back of it. "You don't remember?"

AJ lifted his head up to look at Brian and smiled, "It's all coming back to me now. Thank you for a wonderful night," he said softly. Shifting his head he pressed his lips against Brian's neck and nipped lightly.

Brian wrapped his arms around AJ and sighed as they snuggled back into each other.

"No regrets right?" Brian asked.

"None whatsoever," AJ said sleepily

Brian smiled and tightened his arms around AJ.




Corey's eyes fluttered open. Light brown hair pushed out from under the duvet. He groaned as he settled his head on the soft pillow and reached out to grab his phone from under the other pillow.

8:39 AM stared back at him.

Whimpering Corey tossed the phone onto the pillow and yanked the blanket up over his head while snuggling back into the soft sheets.




In one of the rooms next door a couple slept entwined together. Their naked bodies were covered by a blanket to shelter them from the cold room.

Clothes were strewn about the room, an indication of the passion that had claimed them hours ago.




Matt stood with his hands against the shower wall, his head hanging between his arms. Warm water pounded against his back.

He squeezed his eyes shut, desperate to shut off the words that had been repeating like a CD on auto play since last night.

He got out of the shower, wrapped a towel around his waist and walked into his room. Sitting down on the edge of the bed he squeezed the excess water out of his hair, eyes trained to the floor.

'What do I do? Should I tell him? Or honor the promise I have been asked to keep? Wouldn't it be better if he knows? Should I agree and keep quiet so that they can break it to him soon like they said they had planned to?'

With a sigh he lay back on the bed, his feet on the ground, his mind continuing to toss questions around his head.

A little while later

Matt couldn't help but smile as he sat down across from his parents. He had to clear his throat to get them to notice him, so lost were they in each other's eyes and whispered conversation.

"Morning," he said with a grin.

Jake grinned and looked down before raising his eyes and smiling at his son. "Good morning."

“Morning son,” Richard said while wrapping his arm around Matt and squeezing gently. "What brings you down? We figured you'd be hiding out with your Corey," Richard said as he began buttering a piece of toast.

Matt shrugged, "I was awake, didn't want to take the chance of waking him and I didn't want to eat alone so I came to find you guys."

Jake smiled in thanks as his husband set a triangle of toast with butter and jam down on his plate. "That's good then. Let Corey rest, he was wonderful last night. He'll need his strength and patience for tonight."

Matt nodded, his eyes darting to a few tables down from them where Robert Carter sat with Cara and Jerald Richardson. Shifting his eyes back to his parents he picked up the coffee cup that his dad had filled up for him and took a long sip.

"You look tired Matthew, is everything ok?" Richard asked the concern in his voice audible.

Matt smiled weakly, "I didn't sleep too well. I'll sleep for a few hours when I get back to my room and just skip lunch. I'll be ok."

Jake nodded slowly, "I'll send something to you room, or keep something in our room in case you feel hungry."

"Are you sure nothing's on your mind?" Richard asked slowly.

Matt crossed his fingers under the table. This was the downside to them being so close as a family, his parents could read him pretty easily and always knew when something was on his mind.

"I'm fine Dad, don't worry. Thinking about Corey, hoping he's not getting overwhelmed. I'm just anxious to finally start my life with him, our life together."

He hoped he'd managed to convince his parents and bit back a sigh of relief when he saw their faces relax into smiles.




Corey played with his new bracelet before AJ gently helped him with the clasp.

"You really think I should wear it for breakfast? It's not too much?"

AJ smiled and nodded. "I know it feels like too much to you Core but wear it at least while you're here. Back home wear it when you feel like it."

The doubtful look still hadn't left Corey's face. He nervously kept turning the bracelet around his wrist causing it to sparkle under the lights.

"How often have you seen Jake wear this?"

"He pretty much wears it all the time except when he's at work." Corey ceased the nervous twisting and looked at AJ. "You cannot compare me to Jake! He's so sophisticated and cool. I'm just," he shrugged, "me."

AJ squeezed Corey's arm. "You are his son in law. He's given you a bracelet that matches his so that you can wear it as often as he wears his if you want to."

Corey tilted his head. "Huh... I had not thought about it this way before."

He faced the mirror and looked at himself. He took in his navy blue shorts and white shirt, the sparkle of the beautiful bracelet on his wrist and smiled slightly.

He took a deep breath and let it out before smiling. "Ok, let's go."

AJ nodded. "You're almost ready."

He smiled when he saw Corey's confused expression. "Your ring is on the table. Put it on and we can leave."

AJ began laughing at Corey's heartfelt groan. He wondered how Corey would react to the two gifts he was yet to receive from his in laws. 'This should be fun,' he thought as they left Corey's room.




Nick opened his eyes as soft lips pressed against his shoulder. He looked over his shoulder and smiled at his boyfriend.

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

Nick shivered at Kevin’s deeper than usual sleepy voice.

Kevin tugged on his arm until he turned around. Nick settled down so that they were sharing the same pillow and facing each other.

After a moment spent looking into each other’s eyes Kevin glanced down at the phone Nick had set on the bed between them when it buzzed several times.

“What time is it?”

Nick gently ran his fingers through Kevin’s hair. “Almost 10. Corey and AJ were asking if we want to join them for breakfast.”

Kevin slid his hand up Nick’s hip, “Do you want to?”

“I can take it or leave it. I didn’t expect you to wake up so easily.” Nick began stroking Kevin’s hair.

Kevin sighed, “It’s late enough.” His eyes slid closed at the tender way Nick was caressing his hair.

Nick grinned and bit his lower lip, “We didn’t sleep until after 5am. You wanna go back to sleep? I can stay here with you.”

“I think I will try and sleep for a bit more. I appreciate you wanting to stay with me. But you go join your boys for breakfast.” He opened his eyes and tugged Nick closer for a hug.

Nick pressed his lips against Kevin’s jaw. “Ok. Do you want me to bring something back for you? A muffin or toast or something?”

Kevin rubbed his cheek against Nick’s, “Yeah that sounds good.”

Nick kissed Kevin’s shoulder before drawing back and sitting up. “Sleep.”

Kevin watched as Nick got out of bed and did his best to avoid Kevin’s eyes as he moved around the room to pick up his clothes that had been strewn about last night. He turned once he was dressed in his pants and shirt and smiled at Kevin, his face flushed.

Kevin winked at him causing Nick to laugh. “Sleep!”

Kevin obediently closed his eyes and smiled when he felt Nick tug the blanket up to cover his shoulders. When he heard the door gently click shut he turned over and tried to go back to sleep.




AJ slid his phone back into his pocket as they entered the restaurant. “That was Nicky. He’s going to shower and join us.”

Corey smiled, “Good! What’s your plan for the rest of the day?”

He smiled at the hostess who recognized him as one of the grooms and waved them in. They chose a table in the corner away from the bright sunlight pouring in through the glass doors.

A server came over and smiled at them. “Good morning Mr. Jacobs, Mr. McLean. The buffet closes in half an hour but feel free to ask for anything you’d like from it. We’ll bring it out from the kitchen for you.”

Corey smiled, “Thank you very much Ben!”

AJ smiled and nodded, “Thank you.”

They placed their order for fresh fruit juice and a platter of mixed fruit while they waited for Nick.

AJ sat back in his chair. “The perks of being the groom. They really are being very accommodating.”

Corey nodded. “Totally! I didn’t get up out of my seat even once yesterday. They brought everything to the table for me. I didn’t even have to go place the order for my omelette or anything.”

“You do deserve to be indulged Core,” AJ said with a smile.

He patted his camera bag. “You mind if I get a few candid shots while you eat?”

Corey shrugged, “Saying no to you is not worth the effort anymore.”

AJ laughed as he remembered Corey protesting for days when he visited Nick in London for the first time and AJ wanted to take his picture. Over the past three years he had gotten used to AJ taking his picture at random moments.

They smiled as their server Ben filled their glasses with juice before setting a pitcher of it down on their table. When he left Corey stared at the plate of mixed fruit arranged beautifully around the plate, a rack of toast, and a plate of mixed mini muffins.

“Don’t even start with me!” AJ warned. “This isn’t a lot of food.”

Corey closed his mouth and made a zipping motion.

AJ rolled his eyes and speared a piece of mango to pop into his mouth. His eyes closed in bliss when the cold, sweet, juicy flavour burst across his tongue.

Corey grinned and followed AJ’s example by biting into a piece of mango. “Mmm this is good.”




Nick rubbed the towel over his hair, then flung it on the bed and ruffled his hair with his fingers while sliding his feet into his flip flops. He rushed out the door after grabbing his wallet and phone.

He hurriedly made his way down the stairs and to the restaurant where breakfast was served. He entered the restaurant and quickly spotted his friends. He made his way over to them and sat down across from Corey.

“Good morning!”

AJ and Corey grinned at Nick’s smiling face and flushed cheeks. “Good morning indeed,” Corey said.

“Should I even bother asking where you were?” AJ asked.

Nick laughed and blushed, “I’m hungry.”

After a few minutes of light hearted teasing they settled down enough to eat.

“All ok?” Corey asked hesitantly.

Nick looked down at his plate for a moment before looking up with a shy smile and nod. Corey smiled widely and reached out to squeeze Nick’s arm while AJ winked at him.

Nick cleared his throat. “So what’s the plan?”

AJ raised his eyebrows in amusement at Nick’s very obvious change of subject but decided to cut him some slack. “I have a short session with Matt’s parents in a little while.”

“Ohhh!” Corey bounced lightly in his seat. “Are you going to take the shots outside?”

AJ smiled at Corey, “Yes, on the beach.”

Nick laughed at Corey who was almost vibrating with excitement. “You wanna go watch?”

AJ quickly shook his head before Corey could answer. “The sun is out, you’ll tan.”

Corey pouted and gave AJ the saddest look he could come up with. “Please please please AJe! I will love you forever and ever!”

AJ rolled his eyes with a laugh, “That you will anyway!”

“Aww c’mon Alex, please!” Nick joined in.

AJ shook his head at their antics and shrugged. “Ok, but on one condition. You and Matt join Jake and Richard. I’ve been meaning to capture the four of you together.”

Corey turned his pout on Nick. “He’s mean,” he whispered.

Nick grinned and reached out to ruffle Corey’s hair. “It won’t be so bad. The choice is yours though.”

AJ shook his head. “I don’t understand how you can model and waltz up and down the ramp but sulk over having to take a few little pictures with your family.”

Corey stabbed a mini muffin with his fork and shoved it into his mouth. “Hate picture time,” he muttered.

AJ looked at his watch before drinking the last sip left of his coffee. “Excellent! So I’ll see you two outside in 30 minutes. What you’re wearing is fine. Once I’m done with your shots you can watch for a bit. If you and Matt turn out to be a distraction for Jake and Richard I’ll have to send you guys in.”

AJ grabbed a chocolate muffin and walked off to get his equipment from his room.

Corey sighed and looked at Nick who was staring at his plate with a soft smile on his face. Corey slowly picked up his phone and unlocked it. Activating the camera he carefully set up his shot and took Nick’s picture.

It said a lot to Corey about Nick’s mental state for him to have not heard the click of the picture being taken. He looked at it for a moment before emailing it to Robert and AJ. He smiled and emailed a copy to Kevin too.




Nick let himself into Kevin’s room and gently shut the door when he saw the room in darkness. The only light coming in was from where it peeked through the curtains.

Setting down the tray he’d brought with him Nick slipped off his flip flops and carefully slid onto the bed beside Kevin. He didn’t expect Kevin’s hand to slide around his waist and tug him close.

“Thought you were asleep,” Nick said softly and began to run his fingers through Kevin’s hair.

Kevin sighed and shifted so that he could look at Nick. “Calls and emails began popping in.”

Nick sighed and slid his hand down to squeeze the back of Kevin’s neck. “I’m sorry; I should’ve checked that your phones were on silent before I left.”

Nick was well aware that Kevin always turned his phones silent and kept them upside down so that even a message received light wouldn’t blink. It was a ritual that Nick himself had gotten used to whenever they spent the night together. This was the first time that they had slipped up on it.

Kevin slid his hand under Nick’s t-shirt and rubbed his side. “Don’t stress about it. I slept well enough and long enough.”

He sighed and hauled himself up. Resting his elbow on his knee he rubbed his eyes.

Nick swallowed hard and licked his lips. The subtle light coming in to the room was enough for him to see that the sheets had slid low on Kevin’s hips to reveal his firm, muscular body. He bit his lip and resisted the urge to slide his lips and tongue over Kevin’s sleep warmed body.

He cleared his throat, “Umm I got you something to eat. Coffee… and coffee. Do you want some coffee?”

He winced at how nervous he sounded and hoped that Kevin was too sleepy to notice.

Kevin turned his head and looked at Nick. “Thanks. I’ll go take a quick shower and wake myself up a bit first.”

Kevin squeezed Nick’s thigh before turning, sliding off the bed and tossing the sheets back. He stretched his body up towards the ceiling before making his way to the bathroom.

Nick stared at Kevin’s naked body and bit his lip hard to swallow back a whimper. He didn’t think he’d ever get over the reaction he always had to seeing Kevin naked. He sighed in relief when Kevin shut the bathroom door.

He rubbed his face with his hands and rolled his eyes at himself. ‘You’re a real moron Carter.’

When Nick heard the shower turn off a short while later he moved away from the balcony doors to pour Kevin a cup of coffee.

Kevin stepped out of the bathroom and moved behind Nick before sliding his arms around his waist. His lips sought out Nick’s neck and began a slow exploration of the tender, creamy skin in front of him.

“Kevin,” Nick moaned softly. He quickly put down the cup he was holding least his shaking hand cause hot coffee to spill over him. He didn’t know if he should pull away from Kevin’s light hold or lean back into his embrace.

Kevin slid his hands under Nick’s t-shirt and began caressing his firm stomach. He nuzzled Nick’s jaw, moved his hands up to gently stroke over Nick’s nipples.

Nick gasped and sagged back into Kevin. He slid his hands over Kevin’s arms and turned his head for a kiss.

Kevin didn’t disappoint and held Nick firmly against his body while lazily sliding his lips against Nick’s.

Nick moaned when he felt Kevin’s hand sliding into his pocket only to whimper in disappointment when he pulled out Nick’s phone which had been vibrating and broke their kiss. Kevin held the phone in front of Nick’s face so that he could see AJ’s face on the screen.

Nick licked his lips and tried to control his breathing as Kevin slid his thumb across the screen, activated the call and held the phone to his ear.

“Nicky I’m heading downstairs. Come by the pool entrance to the beach when you’re ready.”

“Um yeah ok J, I’ll uh be here in a bit,” Nick said quickly.

AJ’s laughter came through the phone loud enough for Kevin to hear him too. “Ok, I’ll totally understand if you want to skip out!”

AJ disconnected the call and Kevin pulled the phone away from Nick’s ear. He rested his chin on Nick’s shoulder, slid the phone back into his pocket and rested his hand on Nick’s thigh. Nick shivered at the feel of Kevin’s hand on his leg.

“You have to go?”

Nick turned around in Kevin’s arms and slid his hands up his chest to wind around his neck.

“AJ’s doing a quick shoot of Matt, Core, Jake and Richard and then of just Jake and Richard. I’m going to watch.”

“Ok.”

“You wanna come with me?” Nick asked hesitantly.




Matt pressed his face against the side of Corey’s neck to muffle his laughter at the look on his dad’s face.

Corey frowned and pinched Matt’s waist. “You are such a meanie!”

Matt nipped at Corey’s neck in retaliation and kissed his ear. “Why?”

“Because it’s not funny and you’re laughing! It’s adorable is what it is.”

Matt tightened his arms around Corey’s hips, “I don’t get a lot of opportunities to watch my dad turn into a big bundle of adorableness. I am finding it cute and it’s making me laugh.”

Corey turned halfway to look at his fiancÚ and confirm that he was indeed finding the situation cute.

He nodded his head, “Alright then, as long as we are on the same page here.”

They shared a grin and went back to watching AJ fixing Jake’s look.




AJ was surprised that Nick had not only shown up but brought Kevin along with him. He tried to keep a subtle eye on them while also doing his job but it wasn’t as easy as it would normally be thanks to Jake Sigmond feeling awkward and shy and Matthew constantly laughing.

He sighed in relief as he reviewed all the pictures he’d taken so far of the four of them and decided he had enough to work with. Looking up he smiled at the way Kevin and Nick were sitting together and quickly changed the settings on his camera to capture the moment without them being aware of it.

“Matt, Corey you guys can go. I only need Richard and Jake now.”

“Can we stay and watch?” Corey asked.

AJ shook his head, “No kid. You need to go and get out of the sun. Josh will kick my ass if you start burning.”

Corey bounced lightly and hugged Richard and Jake. “Have fun! Take lots of really nice pictures!”

They laughed at Corey’s enthusiasm and nodded.

“We’ll come by your room around 7:30 this evening,” Jake said.

“7:30?” Corey asked in confusion before looking at Nick who nodded. He shrugged, “Ok 7:30.”

AJ, Richard and Jake said their goodbyes to the two couples as they walked a little further down the beach to a new spot.

Walking back into the hotel Corey grinned and nudged Nick who was walking next to him causing him to bump into Kevin who was walking beside him. Nick narrowed his eyes at Corey and shoved him gently against Matt in return. Corey laughed and grabbed Nick’s hand and began swinging their arms back and forth as they walked.

Matt glanced at his watch. “It’s almost 1:30.”

Nick exchanged a look with Kevin. “I wouldn’t mind getting a bite to eat and then enjoying my bed for a few hours.”

“What time do we have to start getting ready in the evening?” Corey asked while leaning his head against Nick’s shoulder.

“6ish. You will go last.”

“Cool, I’ll sleep until then. I’m hungry too, where should we eat?”

Matt smiled and held Corey’s other hand. “The menu tonight is Thai and Balinese food. We can get some Italian now if you want a change.”

They decided to eat in Matt’s room and continued walking through the hotel to the elevator.




A few hours later Corey woke up to gentle hands stroking his hair and a voice softly calling his name. His eyes fluttered open to find Nick sitting beside him. He smiled and stretched lazily.

“Time to wake up. It’s five after six,” Nick said softly.

Corey allowed Nick to tug him up and sighed before getting out of bed. He yawned and shivered.

“So… I’ll go take a shower?”

Nick smiled and nodded. “AJ’s already with JC.”

Corey nodded and hugged Nick before wandering into the bathroom. Nick switched on more lights in the room and then used the connecting door to go into JC’s room.




Corey watched as JC ran gentle hands through his hair to style it. “Hey is this that gel you used during the show?”

JC smiled and nodded, “Yup. It has gold glitter in it so it’s perfect to give your hair that extra hit of shine.”

Nick and AJ smiled at Corey’s fascinated look. Due to Nick accompanying AJ to parties in London with the fashion crowd he worked with, he was used to seeing people look glamorous. He’d even experimented with makeup himself before deciding it wasn’t for him. Corey on the other hand had lived a very sheltered life so far. It made them feel good that their friend was allowing them to glam him up.

AJ changed positions and clicked another picture of Corey and JC. He showed it to Nick who nodded.

“Just one more of Corey completely ready and looking at himself in the mirror maybe?” AJ asked.

Nick nodded, “Yeah that works.” He suddenly smiled. “Now AJ now now!” he whispered urgently.

AJ grinned at what Nick was seeing, quickly set up the shot and rapidly took a few pictures.

Corey looked up from where he’d been looking down at his engagement ring and blushed when he realized AJ had been taking his picture. He laughed when AJ continued taking pictures.




Cara Richardson laughed in delight as she took in all the women in the lobby in their colourful sarongs.

“What’s going on?”

Sabrina Littrell smiled at her sister in law. “Sarongs have been provided for everyone! They have people around who will wrap it for you however you want to wear it.”

“No wonder the dress code for tonight is so casual! I can just wear a sarong over what I have on now.”

Sabrina smiled, “That’s the idea.”

Sabrina scanned the area before leaning closer to Cara. “Where’s your hoping to be daughter in law?”

Cara shook her head at Sabrina, “Last I saw her she was glued to your ex daughter in law.”

Sabrina sighed. “She hasn’t even bothered to say hello to us. When I look back on how I constantly took her side and defended her to Brian,” she trailed off.

Cara wrapped her arm around Sabrina’s waist and squeezed gently. “You can’t change the past honey. You can only do your best to ensure his present and future is a happy one.”

Sabrina leaned against Cara and allowed her sister in law to comfort her. “I just don’t want to see him hurt again Ca.”

“You need to let go Rina. Let him make his own way this time. He did things to please you and Harold. Let him do things his way now.”

Sabrina knew her sister was right. She had to let go and hope her son would find the happiness he deserved after all the pain he’d gone through.




Kyle smiled when he saw Kevin and Brian enter the party.

“Hey guys.”

“Hey Kyle. Everything looks amazing. Another hit,” Kevin said with a smile.

Kyle grinned as Brian echoed his cousin. “Thanks! Nick and Matt envisioned it, I hope I’ve done it appropriate justice.”

“Oh I think you definitely have. It’s a perfect blend of formal and fun,” Brian assured him.

“Kevin darling!”

Brian’s smile froze on his face when he saw Annaliese and his ex wife come up to them.

“Hello ladies,” Kevin said with a polite smile.

He knew he should compliment them but he had nothing nice to say to the woman who had caused his cousin to question his self worth. And he couldn’t play the role society expected of him and only compliment one woman and ignore the other.

“Where have you been darling, I’ve barely seen you,” Annaliese said while wrapping her arm around Kevin’s waist.

“I’ve been around,” Kevin said with a slight smile.

Brian looked away from his ex wife after taking a brief look at her. Dressed in a skimpy, sparkly bikini with a short wrap tied around her waist, her belly ring a flashy, real diamond one, he realized with relief that she didn’t appeal to him at all. His heart and mind were well and truly closed to her.

Kyle decided to help Brian out.

“Brian can you go wait with Matt and then walk in with them? You’ll need to escort AJ and Nick.”

Brian nodded gratefully at Kyle before turning and walking away without a word.

Kyle excused himself and walked off to meet his assistant, hoping Kevin would forgive him for abandoning him.




Nick got out of the car and smiled when he saw Matt waiting for them, Brian walking up behind him.

Corey got out of the car and stopped to stare at Matt. Dressed in beige linen trousers, a white shirt that was barely buttoned up showing off his broad chest, Corey couldn’t take his eyes away from him. He didn’t realize that the feeling was mutual.

Matt couldn’t look away from how angelic his Corey looked. Cream linen trousers with a white short sleeve shirt just made him glow all the more. He moved forward and held his hands out to Corey.

Corey slid his hands into Matt’s and moved closer to him.

“You look so damn beautiful,” Matt said softly.

Corey looked down with a shy smile on his face as he felt his face heat up. Matt wouldn’t allow it and gently held his chin to tilt his head up.

“Gorgeous.”

Corey grinned, allowing his teeth to sink into his lower lip. “So are you, gorgeous I mean.” He sighed shakily and shivered.

Matt grinned and slid his hand up to cup Corey’s cheek. “My beautiful beautiful Core.”

“Stop it,” Corey said with a laugh.

Matt laughed and pressed his lips against Corey’s forehead before taking a step back from him. His eyes slid down when he saw something shine against Corey’s neck.

“Is that,” he trailed off.

Corey smiled and pulled up the pendant around his neck so that Matt could see it. “The dads gave it to me,” he said proudly.

Matt laughed in delight when he saw the crown pendant that Corey was holding. His parents and household staff had jokingly begun referring to Corey as their ‘Little Sparkling Sunshiny Prince’. He now understood that the gifts his parents had been giving Corey were based on that nickname. He hadn’t known what they were going to give Corey. Robert had very seriously told him that it was between them and their son in law. He could see it if Corey wanted to show it to him.

He leaned down and brushed his lips against Corey’s. “I love my parents and I love you.”

AJ looked away from Matt and Corey being adorable for a moment and frowned when he saw Brian. He moved away from the car and right up into Brian’s personal space.

“Are you ok? What’s wrong?” he asked quickly.

Brian looked at AJ in surprise. “Why do you think something’s wrong?”

AJ raised an eyebrow. “If I didn’t before I do now.”

At Brian’s confused look he elaborated. “You answered my question with a question.”

Brian smiled slightly and shook his head. “I’ll be fine.”

AJ frowned and stepped back, surprised that he’d been so forward with Brian. Maybe he and what they had done was the problem.

Brian sighed and grabbed AJ’s hand. “It’s not you.” He squeezed AJ’s hand when he saw the doubtful look on AJ’s face, “Really really not you.”

He took a deep breath, “Jessica’s inside. She and Annaliese came over when I was with Kevin and Kyle.”

AJ squeezed Brian’s hand back. “Anything I can do to help?”

Brian swallowed hard, “Stay with me tonight.” He hurried on, “I know we have things we need to talk about, sort through. But just while we’re here, please just stay by me. I don’t want to give her any opportunity to create a scene and ruin this night for Corey and Matt.”

AJ gave Brian a quick hug. “I’m glued to you tonight,” he promised.

Brian smiled, not questioning for the moment why he was able to trust AJ so easily. Maybe it was because he was Nick and Corey’s friend. Or maybe it was because something in him had instantly felt drawn to AJ from the first moment he’d seen him. Sometimes it was better to just go with it rather than pick it apart by overanalyzing things.

He held out his other hand to Nick. “We ready to do this?”

Corey and Matt joined them, Matt indicating that Brian, AJ and Nick should walk ahead of him and Corey.

Corey walked down the pathway that had been lined with flickering candles and flowers. The sweet scent of Jasminum sambac wrapped their arms around them, the cool sand slipping over their toes.

A cheer went up from the crowd as they walked in. The party had officially begun.

Soon after a traditional Balinese dance performance was performed while guests enjoyed the delicious food and drinks that had been set up around the area.

Corey stood close to the raised platform stage fascinated by the dance and the heavy beat of drums echoing around them. He gripped Matt’s arm which was wrapped around his waist and turned his head quickly to grin at him.

“This is fabulous! Thank you thank you thank you!”

Matt kissed the back of Corey’s head and refrained from hauling him closer. “Glad you’re enjoying it love.”

He took a quick look at the crowd gathered around the stage and was relieved to see that everyone seemed to be enjoying the performance. Every part of the wedding had been set up with Corey’s enjoyment in mind. The fact that everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves was a bonus in his book.

After the performance concluded the DJ took over. Matt laughed and allowed himself and Corey to be pulled onto the dance floor by Nick, AJ and Brian.

After dancing to a few songs with Corey he noticed his parents sitting nearby. He indicated to him that he’d be back.

Sabrina Littrell smiled when she saw Matt come towards them. “Hello handsome.”

“Hey gorgeous, why aren’t you on the dance floor with us?” he asked while squeezing his dad’s shoulder in thanks when he handed him a bottle of water.

Harold Littrell laughed, “That’s for you youngsters to enjoy.”

Sabrina mocked growled and poked her husband’s arm with her finger. “Excuse you! Are you calling me old?”

Harold held up his hands as Matt started laughing. “No dear, not you. I was referring to myself.”

Sabrina sniffed, “That’s better.”

Matt moved around the table and held his hand out to her. “Let’s go then.”

She slipped her hand into his and stood up. Looking at his bare feet she quickly slipped her own sandals off. As they moved past Jake she grabbed his hand and tugged.

“You’re coming with me,” she commanded knowing he wouldn’t turn her down.

Jake laughed and allowed himself to be pulled along after a quick look at his husband.

Matt led them over to where Nick, Corey, AJ and Brian were dancing. Nick, Corey and Brian cheered when they saw who Matt has brought along with him.

Sabrina smiled at her son and AJ who are dancing close together before turning her attention to Matt for a dance.




“Is that Jake?”

Richard smiled as Cara and Jerald Richardson join them. “Yes it is.”

“I forgot how good a dancer he is!” Cara said delightedly as she watched Jake dance with Nick and Corey. “Why aren’t you out there with him?”

“Because I am not comfortable with salsa in public.”

Jerald, Cara and Harold look at Richard in confusion. “Salsa?” they ask in unison.

Richard took a sip of his drink and smirked. “Wait and see. I know Matt’s up to something.”

Sure enough within minutes the beats of ‘Sway’ by the Pussycat Dolls swirled around them. Richard quickly stood up and moved closer to the dance floor. He wasn’t going to miss a second of this.

Jake narrowed his eyes at his son before shaking his head frantically. Matt pouted and mouthed ‘please’.

Sabrina walked up behind Jake and rubbed his back. “Let’s show them how it’s done J.”

Jake whipped his head around so quickly she was scared he’d hurt himself. “You cannot be serious,” he hissed.

“Oh I am! Now come on, don’t keep a lady waiting,” she said with a wink.

Twirling a little away she held out her arm to him. Rolling his eyes Jake sighed and held out his arm to grab her hand.

Matt grinned and turned to the DJ. At this signal the song began once again.




The people on the dance floor quickly formed a circle around the dancing pair and loudly cheered them on.

Jake laughed and pulled Sabrina close to him before pushing her out so that she could twirl out.

Corey was screaming and cheering in excitement on seeing this new side of his father in law.

Brian laughed and distractedly wrapped his arm around AJ as he cheered his mom and Jake on.

Nick grinned and cheered, his body swaying to the music. He turned to look for AJ and found his friend looking back at him. AJ grinned and slid his hand into Nick’s outstretched one. Within seconds they had joined Jake and Sabrina on the dance floor much to Corey’s delight. They moved as one with the beat and matched their steps to Sabrina and Jake.

Corey pressed himself back into Matt’s body while clapping in happiness. He took a look around; everyone was watching and cheering for the foursome.

The song ended and switched to current fast tempo hit causing people to join in and begin dancing. Jake handed a dancing Sabrina over to Brian and was going to step off the dance floor when a hand encircled his and a body pressed against his back.

“I want a dance too.”

Jake turned and looked into his husband’s smiling face with a smile of his own.

Richard led Jake over to where Cara and Robert had joined AJ, Brian, Corey, Matt, Sabrina and Harold. Within minutes Nick showed up with Jerald in tow. Jerald let out a deep suffering sigh as his protests of not wanting to dance were ignored by his godson. His wife openly laughing at him didn’t help matters.




Half an hour later Nick made his way over to the bar. Thankfully it was not very crowded because a lot of the guests were either at the buffet or already eating.

Nick drank down the shot the bartender set in front of him, wincing as the alcohol burned down his throat. Nodding to indicate he’d like another, he held out his hand for it. When the bartender held out the third shot Nick didn’t hesitate to reach for it.

He frowned when someone grabbed the glass meant for him.

“Hey!”

Nick swallowed hard at the green eyed stare he was met with.

Kevin raised his eyebrow challengingly before slamming back the shot.

Nick watched fascinated, as Kevin licked his lips and set the glass down on the bar.

Kevin stepped closer to Nick and gently grabbed hold of his hand.

“I’ve seen you dance with AJ before,” he said referring to AJ and Nick’s salsa, “but it can’t compare to tonight.” He took another step and stood close, the way acquaintances definitely did not. “You looked so sensual, so hot. It was all I could do to restrain myself and not grab you right there.”

Nick blinked slowly, the alcohol he’d rapidly consumed hitting him hard. “Umm, why didn’t you?”

Nick’s eyes widened because that was definitely not what he’d meant to say.

Kevin came closer until he was almost pressed up against Nick.

“Really Nick? You’d let me,” he lowered his head and spoke into Nick’s ear, “hold you and kiss you and claim you in front of all these people?”

Nick’s breath hitched, his hand moving to press against Kevin’s chest. He swallowed hard and made a decision.

“Yes.”

Kevin pulled back and looked into Nick’s eyes. Whatever he read in Nick’s face was enough to have him close what little distance was left between them. He slid his fingers into Nick’s hair and tilted his head up. He didn’t give Nick a chance to second guess himself before pressing their lips together.

Nick’s heart was beating hard and he could feel Kevin’s beating the same way from where his hand was pressed against his chest.




Monique turned away from her husband after checking in with him, ready to head back to where her daughter was keeping Kevin Richardson occupied. She stood rooted to her spot though, a gasp of disbelief escaping her.

Robert turned when he heard her gasp. She wanted to stop him from seeing what she was seeing. She didn’t want him getting any ideas in his head.

When she glanced at him though she knew it was too late. Robert had a smile on his face. He was happy about his son being with Jerald’s son. She took a look around at the other people who had noticed the young heirs kissing and wasn’t surprised to see approval on all their faces.

‘This can’t be happening,’ she thought to herself. She closed her hands into fists, her long nails pressing into her skin.




Jessica turned around when her cigarette was plucked out of her hand.

Annaliese smiled at her and took long drag from the cigarette, holding it in before raising her head up to blow it out.

“Where’ve you been all night?”

Annaliese licked her red lips, “With Kevin.”

Jessica looked at her in surprise, “Really? So you’ve finally got him?”

Annaliese took another deep drag of the cigarette and released it. “Yes. He hasn’t strayed from my side all night.”

Jessica grabbed her cigarette back. “So where is he now?”

Annaliese shrugged, “Around. I needed a smoke break.”

Jessica laughed, “And you don’t want him to know that you smoke?”

“He won’t care, his parents may.”

“It’s better to be upfront from the beginning Annaliese. If I’d done that, I wouldn’t be in this mess now,” Jessica said bitterly.

Annaliese applied a fresh coat of lipstick on her lips and fluffed her hair. “I’m not you Jessica. I will make this work. I just need to get his ring on my finger.”

Jessica flicked her cigarette away and shrugged. “It’s up to you.”

As they turned and entered the area where the party was being held, Jessica who had been walking a little ahead stopped suddenly. Annaliese frowned in confusion and looked around for what could have caused her to stop when she gasped in surprise.

White hot rage spread through her body. This was not happening, not to her, was all she could think about.

She swallowed the urge to screech when she saw Nick smile sweetly and press his face into Kevin’s shoulder. That’s my man, she felt like screaming out.

She imagined herself striding up to them as if she were on a ramp, all eyes moving from them to her. She would grab Nick’s shoulder and yank him away. In her mind he was shorter than her. She’d pull him close and hiss at him as to what she’d do to him if she caught him so much as looking at her man ever again, and then she’d shove him away from her. Kevin would stare at her in awe, finding it sexy how possessive she is and immediately drop down to his knee and propose to her.

Jessica nudging her caused her to snap out of her thoughts. “Looks like he was just waiting to leave your side so that he could seek out the one he wants Annaliese.”

Annaliese knew she had been caught out and could do nothing but glare at her.




Nick knew they had to have drawn a fair bit of attention. He could hear the excited murmurs around them. He resisted the urge to bury his face back into Kevin’s strong shoulders and hide. He could do this. Feeling Kevin’s hand glide down his back was very reassuring. He licked his lips and took a deep breath. They could do this.