"Thanksgiving?" Nick questioned, taking a break from staring at his phone for a moment to peer up at the other man. "Isn't that weeks away?"
Kevin laughed. "Not at all baby, have you even looked at a calendar since you got here? Thanksgiving is in two weeks, it's the next week I get the boys. We get them for Thanksgiving this year and Christmas next year. Although we usually end up seeing each other anyway even though it's not our designated holiday."
Nick laid back on the bed and got comfortable against the pillows. "I guess I've never asked what exactly your arrangements are." he said, placing his phone on the nightstand to ignore it until it rang.
Kevin stretched across the foot of the bed propping himself up with his elbow. "You mean 'our' arrangements." Kevin said gently as he gave Nick a pointed look. "Together, remember."
Nick blushed and nodded. "I just don't want to overstep. This is all so new."
Kevin smiled. "I know it is. I'll just keep reminding you. But to answer your question, we alternate holidays. She gets them for Thanksgiving one year and Christmas the next and I get the opposite. So far we've ended up spending at least a small part of the day together anyway. Last year she had Thanksgiving, but I ate dinner with them. I had Christmas but she came in the morning when we opened presents. As long as it's okay with you, I would like to continue that, unless you or her have any problems with it."
"Of course not Kev, whatever is best for your family. I am perfectly content with it. I'm just thankful to be included." Nick said with a small smile.
Kevin reached across the bed and took his hand. "Of course you are, you're my baby." he smiled sweetly at the blonde.
Nick laughed and pulled Kevin's arm to bring him closer. "So what do you want to do for Thanksgiving?" Nick asked as Kevin settled in beside him.
"Well in the spirit of creating new traditions, I was thinking we could all cook together. Let each of the kids pick out something they really want to make and we eat whatever they come up with." Kevin said his eyes twinkling with excitement.
Nick chuckled. "You do realize we will end up eating pizza and corn dogs for Thanksgiving if you let them choose."
Kevin nodded. "Oh I am fully aware, but we will make them from scratch, not the store bought kind."
Nick tilted his head and peered at his lover suspiciously. "Are you feeling okay? Mr. Perfectionist is okay with having a traditional meal be destroyed by crazy kid food choices?"
Kevin laughed and rolled over closer to the blonde. Nick pulled his arm around the other man, drawing him into his arms. Kevin leaned his head back against Nick as he responded. "You came and changed what I believe in." his smile a mile long as he sang the long forgotten lyric. Nick punched him in the arm before leaning down and brushing a kiss across Kevin’s forehead. "Asshole." Nick muttered as he held Kevin tightly against him.
They sat in comfortable silence for several minutes. "Can I ask you something?" Nick asked suddenly.
Kevin frowned. "You can always ask me anything, we're way beyond the point of secrets between us."
"After Mason told me about the N Sync Christmas song, I went digging around. I found that one and I also found another one by James TW. Did you write those about Kristin?"
Kevin was silent for a second. "How in the world did you find those?" he asked, surprised.
Nick smiled against the top of Kevin's head. He was alternating between running his fingers through the silky locks and placing gently kisses against his head. "I'm not as blonde as I look, you know."
"Of course not. I can see the N Sync song, but how did you find out about the other?"
"I found the pen name in the liner notes of the N Sync CD and asked Howie how to research songwriters on the internet. He directed me to a website that allowed me to search. I found it easily enough. It was beautiful Kev. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to it. Especially before I started sleeping in your room. I was listening to it all night some nights." Nick told him honestly.
Nick let his hand wander to the hem of Kevin's shirt. Slipping it underneath the fabric he began rubbing circles against the flatness of Kevin's stomach. He would never be as toned or as thin as Kevin. Their body make-up was just too different. As much as he was ashamed of his own body, Kevin was going a long way to try to take that insecurity away. Kevin shifted back against the younger man, giving Nick more access.
"No. I didn't write those songs about Kristin. I wrote them about you."
The words hung in the air for a moment. Nick's hands stilled under Kevin's shirt. Never in his wildest dreams would he ever have imagined Kevin wrote such beautiful words about him. "What?" he asked, shocked.
Kevin nodded. "I couldn't tell you how I felt about you. I couldn't tell anyone, but I could write it in a song and pretend like they weren't inspired by anything. Kristin never was involved with my songwriting so she never knew what I did or did not write about. I'm not even sure she knows the other song was sold and recorded."
"Why did you sell it? Why didn't you record it?" Nick asked seriously.
"There was no way I could have brought that song to you guys. I would have never been able to be in the room with you as you read or sang any of it. I wrote it at the beginning of our divorce. I had just told Kristin it was over and I was overcome with grief and hurt. And I threw myself into writing. I was trying to get everything I felt about you out so I could begin to rebuild my life on my own. It just seemed to flow right out." Kevin said softly.
"But why didn't you record it yourself?" Nick pressed.
"All by myself?" Kevin laughed. "That would never happen. I'm not the one the fans buy the records for."
Nick pulled away from the other man and gazed down at him. "You could definitely release a solo record. And I would be willing to bet people would buy it just as much as any of the rest of ours. You have the sexy voice of an angel baby."
It was Kevin’s turn to blush as he turned away from him. In a complete role reversal, Nick was the one this time to grab Kevin by the chin and make the other man turn to face him. Peering down from above him Nick said. "I laid awake so many nights listening to that song and longing to hear your voice saying those words. I had no idea you wrote it about me, but I wanted to pretend you were saying those words to me. God baby you have to sing it for me sometime, knowing the history behind it now with your sexy voice will be amazing. But you should really think about recording on your own. It would be wonderful."
"Maybe I'll sing it for you sometime." Kevin said smiling shyly. "I had no idea you knew anything about the song." he sounded bewildered.
"I couldn't get over that there was part of you out there that I knew nothing about. I had to know what you'd been thinking and feeling. At the time though, I assumed you'd written it about her."
"Nope, only you. All the songs are written about you." Kevin mumbled. Nick had started his movements again, running his hands up and down Kevin's stomach and chest. He grazed one Kevin's nipples, twisting and pinching it gently between his fingers. Kevin groaned out and pressed further back into Nick.
"All the songs? Are there more?" Nick asked as he leaned down and nipped Kevin's earlobe. The other man jerked softly under the movement before answering.
Nick moved his hand to the other nipple. Squeezing a little harder this time as he licked along the shell of Kevin's ear before lowering his mouth to Kevin’s neck. Kevin opened his mouth to speak but instead let out a moan as Nick but down in the soft flesh playfully.
"I'm working on one now. I started writing one right before you moved in. Ooihh," Kevin gasped out as Nick's lips found their way to his collarbone. Nick's allowed his hand to fall away from his chest and was walking it teasingly back down Kevin’s stomach towards the waistband of his jeans. Once he reached the button he quickly unbuttoned and then unzipped the jeans. Kevin was impressed he could do it all one handed. He quickly forgot everything else as Nick's hand slid inside his boxers and gently wrapped around his length.
"Mmm." Nick mumbled against Kevin's neck. "I still can't believe I can touch you like this whenever I want." his hand began moving up and down the shaft, slowly at first and then speeding up and back down again. Kevin was lightheaded, not sure if he should focus on the words Nick was saying or the pleasure Nick was giving with his hand on his dick. He arched into Nick's hand, trying desperately to push closer. It felt so good, pressed up against him, Nick wrapped around him so close. "You're so sexy when you moan. Did you know that baby? Do you know how sexy you are?" while Nick mumbled words against Kevin's neck he was also placing feather light kisses everywhere his mouth landed.
The motions caused Kevin to moan again, louder this time as he began to lift his hips up in time with Nick's motions. Every single nerve ending in his body was in fire. The things the younger man did to him with the simplest of touches was something he would never get used to. He wasn't used to being in this submissive position. He was always the one in charge but with Nick, there was something exhilarating about giving himself over so completely to the other man, knowing Nick would catch him as he fell over the edge.
Nick continued to mumble soothing words of love as he assaulted Kevin's neck. Kevin was getting close now, he threw his head back in pleasure exposing more of his neck to the other man. Nick bit down on the space between his neck and his shoulder making Kevin yell out. Then he was coming hard and fast chanting Nick's name as he shot his load all over Nick's hand and the inside of his jeans.
Falling back against him Nick removed his hand and wiped it in the bedspread before gathering the older man in his arms and holding him close. It took several moments for Kevin's breathing to return to normal. "That was amazing. You are amazing." he said, smiling up at the blonde. Nick smiled and leaned down to brush his lips against Kevin's. "I love you." he mumbled against Kevin's mouth as he opened it for the older man. Their tongues caressed gently as Kevin deepened the kiss.
They were broken apart by the ringing of Nick's cell phone. His stomach dropped. He knew this was the lawyer's office before he even reached for the phone. Looking at Kevin quickly for reassurance he picked up the phone and answered.
It wasn't as bad as they had feared, but it was still not great. Kayla, the paralegal had called to inform them that they had given Lauren's attorney Nick's new official address and it would be a matter of time until she figured out where or more importantly, who he was with. They had agreed together that the next step would be to tell the rest of the guys what was going on and if they received their blessing then they would move forward with releasing a statement. They had three days to make a decision before the lawyer wanted to move forward. Giving them a tight deadline to get the blessings of their friends to irrevocably change the course of their careers. Nick just hoped they would be open and willing to listen. Somehow he was just as scared about talking to them as he was about telling Kevin's sons.
Kevin had texted them all asking if they would be available for a video call that evening. Getting a universal yes, they had scheduled a call for after the kids went to bed. Neither of them wanted to disrupt their time with the kids with this nightmare anymore than they already had. Nick had been on edge ever since their response and found himself snapping at Odin over little things, letting his stress get the better of him.
Kevin entered the bedroom, having heard Nick's raised voice from the hallway. He quickly took the baby out of Nick's arms and kissed his surprised lover. Pointing towards the door he ordered, "Go. Take a bath, relax, leave bedtime to me."
Nick started to protest, there were four kids who needed baths and stories, too much for one person alone. "Kev," he started but Kevin silenced him with a kiss. "You're no good to anyone with your anxiety this high. Go recharge. The kids are fine. I'll get everyone to bed and then we can make the call." he stared at the other man pointedly.
Nick sighed and kissed both of his children good night. He'd just reached the door when Kevin's words stopped him." Nothing bad is going to come of this. If they cannot be accepting, then I am ready to step away. Nothing is going to keep you from me. Do you understand?"
Tears pricked Nick's eyes but he nodded and fled the room before they could take root.
Kevin watched him go, wanting to provide additional words of encouragement but knowing the kids took priority at the moment. His were downstairs playing video games before bed which just left Odin and Saoirse who needed baths. Wrangling both into the bathroom he set to work completing the task. As he bathed both kids he was pricked again by the notion of another baby. As if they didn't have enough chaos in their lives he decided. Laughing it off he quickly finished one child and then the other before lifting both of them from the tub. He assisted Odin with changing first, sending him downstairs to wrangle the other two while he diapered and dressed the baby. They had found a good rhythm for bedtime with four kids. Each night they would find a room to gather in and one of the kids would choose the story. Tonight was Odin's turn to choose. Selecting a llama llama book, Kevin settled into the chair with Saoirse on one knee and Maxwell teetering on the edge on the other. Odin had opted to sit in Mason's lap making the older boy laugh in delight. It warmed Kevin's heart to see the kids accepting each other so well. It made every seem so much easier when they would run and play and laugh together. Opening the book he began.
Once story time, three tuck-ins with Odin, Saoirse getting out of bed and dragging out her diapers as soon as he left the room and six kisses a piece to his boys, Kevin was finally done with bedtime. It had been slightly harder than he'd imagined by himself, but he wanted to do whatever he could to ease Nick's discomfort about the next difficult conversation. He found him in the bedroom stretched out on their bed with his eyes closed. With the only light in the room coming from the cracked bathroom door, Kevin originally thought he was asleep, but creeping closer he saw his lips moving, his headphones in. Trying not to startle him, Kevin placed a hand gently on his knee as he sat down beside him. Nick jerked slightly but opened his eyes. Smiling when he saw Kevin. "Hey baby," he said quietly.
"Are you feeling relaxed at all?" Kevin asked as he brushed Nick's saggy hair out of his eyes. He would never tire of this motion. He'd spent so much time thinking about it in the years he'd spent pining after this man. Wanting to touch his hair, his face. Nick leaned his cheek closer to Kevin's hand silently asking for comfort. Kevin obliged and stroked his cheek.
Nick nodded, "As relaxed as I can be before we blow up all of our friendships." he said softly.
"It's not going to be like that. I promise. I know it's scary, hell I'm nervous too, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as you're imagining. Just look at the kids. They took it a lot better than we thought. The worst it's going to be is when the press release goes live. We'll have our phones blow up for days and there will probably be a lot of nasty comments made, but we'll get through it. You'll see. Now, let's go call them and get this one over with."
Situated in the living room, a much more neutral setting than their bedroom, they connected Kevin's laptop to the Zoom call. From where the laptop was situated their hands were not visible. Kevin took Nick's hand in his and squeezed it gently as they waited for the others to join the call. Moving quickly before one of them popped up Kevin turned to Nick and brushed his lips gently across the blondes. Nick smiled into the kiss and as he pulled away whispered a soft "love you".
The ding from the computer signaled that one of the other guys had joined the call. Glancing at the screen they saw it was Brian. Kevin clicked the button and suddenly his face appeared in front of them. He looked more haggard than when he'd been at the house a couple of weeks ago Kevin thought, asking a mental note to have a separate conversation about what was going on in his life.
Nick and Brian chatted about sports while Kevin was connecting Howie and AJ to the call. Once they were all five visible to each other Nick felt the nerves return. Howie and Brian knew the gist of his situation, but Nick hadn't even spoken to AJ since everything had happened. They spent the first few minutes catching up and sharing stories. They really needed to do this more. Nick suddenly had a deep sense of longing for the friendships and the closeness they all shared while together and touring. He hadn't realized until that moment how much he missed each of them. This was going to be even harder than he'd thought it would be to get out. Eventually the talking seemed to lessen as each of them undoubtedly were wondering what had mitigated this summons to communicate. Kevin squeezed his hand again, quietly letting the other man know he was right there. Of course he was sitting so close together on the couch that their shoulders rubbed together every time one of them moved. If he wasn't so preoccupied with the task at hand Nick was convinced he would soon have a much different problem on his hands, or more importantly, in his lap.
Shaking those thoughts from his mind he tried to stay focused. "I know you're wondering why we called a meeting." he started.
"We," AJ said laughing. "I thought daddy Kevin called the meeting. I had no idea you were even there. How come Nick gets to come hang out and I'm stuck being tortured by girls in California?"
Brian laughed. "Hey I was there a few weeks ago!" he said rubbing it in.
AJ threw up his hands. "What the hell am I? Chopped liver? I see how I rank here. Howie have you been there too?"
Howie smiled. "Nope not yet, although I did threaten Kevin I might show up there soon."
Nick was distracted. Not prepared for the antics of the other men. Forgetting where he was in his speech he began to stammer. "I..i. Well."
"I called the meeting, but yes it's something WE want to talk to you about." Kevin said, taking over control of the conversation.
Nick turned and shot him a grateful look, momentarily forgetting the other guys could see him. He squeezed Kevin's hand back and turned to face the other men.
"So AJ you've been a little hard to get in touch with. There's a lot going on you don't know, and even more that none of you know. I'll start from the beginning to get everyone caught up."
Nick began his tale of how he ended up on Kevin’s doorstep and everything leading up until Brian's visit.
"So the next part of this actually starts when Brian was here."
Brian looked around shocked. "What? Something happened while I was there?"
Kevin laughed. “You were never the most observant cuz.”
Nick smiled softly. “Guys, this is hard. I am trying to find the words and all of them are escaping me. So the only thing I can do is blurt it all out and you deal with it however you’re going to and we’ll move on from there.”
AJ sat forward in his chair and removed his sunglasses. Brian shot him a confused look. “No matter what’s going on Nicky we’ll get through it together.” Howie said softly. The other two nodded their heads.
Nick’s eyes began to fill with tears and he dropped his head in his hands, removing the clasped one from Kevin’s to shield his face. They had already agreed Nick would be the one to start the conversation and Nick was pleasantly surprised to see Kevin holding to that, remaining silent as Nick worked to compose himself. He was rubbing Nick’s thigh in a slow reassuring motion, trying to offer support out of the eyesight of the other guys. Nick took a deep breath and shooting a glance at Kevin before speaking he said, “Kevin and I are together. And there’s going to be some fallout because of that with Lauren.”
Nick bit the inside of his cheek to keep from screaming as he watched the news play out across the faces of his oldest friends. Howie was smiling, Brain looked unsure and AJ... well where was AJ? Nick laughed as he poked his head up from the floor.
“Jeez dude did you fall on the floor?” Howie asked laughing.
AJ dusted himself off and resumed his seated position. “Little bit. Out of everything I was expecting to hear, that was not one of the things I’d been preparing myself for.” he said laughing.
“This happened while I was there?” Brian asked, confused. “When?”
Nick blushed. “When you were napping on the couch.”
Brain shot out of his chair. “I knew you two were acting weird! I just thought you were still mad at me. Damn how did I not see this? Is this why you were so happy to get rid of me?”
Nick blushed harder now. Causing AJ to crack up. Nick looked at Kevin, a relieved look on his face. So far there weren't any harsh words or name calling. Kevin smiled back.
“So what’s the fallout Nicky?” Howie asked, his business voice coming back.
“Hold on, before we go any further, I think Nick really needs to hear that you are okay with this. That it’s not going to affect our friendships or anything like that.” Kevin said sitting forward in his seat.
Nick smiled inwardly. This is exactly what he needed but was too afraid to ask the words. Everyone was nodding and smiling. “No problem with me. Just didn’t see it coming, no idea how I missed it.” AJ said, shaking his head.
Brian and Howie started speaking at the same time and then laughed. Both expressed their loving sentiments as well. “So the bad news part of this, is Lauren is going to fight me for sole custody. In doing so we have to have an investigation, a social worker has to come to the house, there will be interviews and written statements, the whole nine yards. When we talked to the lawyer, they recommended that we release a statement about us being together to keep her from being able to use it as ammunition. Right now she’s not aware of where I am or anything to do with Kevin, but it’s only a matter of time. So what I’m really asking for, is your blessing to release a statement so I can tell the world that I love Kevin and protect my kids.’ Nick said softly, suddenly unable to look at any of them. He stared at his folded hands and waited for the worst to happen.
No one spoke for several moments. Nick resisted the urge to bolt from the room. His knees were jumping as he shook his foot up and down in nervous anticipation. Kevin’s hand was back on his thigh but he was too scared to look up.
Brain spoke first. “I am never going to ask you to hide who you are or who you love. If you want to release a statement, I will stand behind you and defend you. I think I’ve done enough damage over the years. I think this is the least I can do for the two of you. I love you both very much and I just want you to make each other happy.” Brian said softly, his accent thick as he tried to hold back tears.
This got Nick’s attention and he looked up to see the three men who meant the world to him all in varying states of emotion. AJ was openly crying and Howie looked like he could at any moment. Nick wasn’t sure what to make of any of this.
“Thank you Bri.’ Kevin said leaning in to wrap his arm around Nick’s shoulders. The blonde fell against him, burying his face in Kevin’s neck, no longer caring who was there to witness their affection. Kevin tightened his hold on the younger man, pulling him closer. His own eyes were misty but knew he needed to keep his emotions in check until this was all over.
Howie was the next to speak. “I love both of you. I support you in everything. Like Brian said, you just need to make each other happy. I told you at the beginning of this we’ll deal with whatever together. This is still true. We will deal with anything as a family. Just like always.”
It took AJ several moments to get his tears under control so he could speak. ‘You both have always been a constant source of love and support for me. How could I ever turn my back on you when now I have the opportunity to offer the same to you. I love you both, you’re my brothers, my friends. I’m so happy for you. And I will support you till the end.”
Kevin smiled at their friends. This was exactly the reaction he was looking for. “Thank you guys. Your support means everything to us. We will be contacting management in the morning and will release a statement sometime before the weekend is over. We’ll probably turn off our phones for a few days, but we’ll get back to you once everything blows over. We can’t thank you enough.”
They all said their goodbyes and ended the chat. Nick finally pulled away from Kevin’s neck and smiled wistfully at the other man. “I can’t believe it went so well.” he said softly.
“Of course it did baby. I told you it would be okay.” Kevin held the other man against him. There had been way too much emotion this week. He just wanted to get to a place where they could just enjoy being together without having to worry about some kind of complex conversation or something else coming up that they had to fight through. Kevin knew it was never going to be as easy for them as it was for other couples, but he couldn’t wait to get to a place of semi-peace so they could just enjoy being together.